Thursday, April 2, 2009

String... String... STRING!!!

When my brother Uncle Schnirelmann and I were kids, we had a silly little in-joke game called "string."

I'm not sure how it started, but it involved feigning a fixation on string. Think zombies moaning for "Braaains!" Our signature moan went along the lines of: "String... striiiing...STRIIIIING!!"

Then we'd greedily grab and pretend to obsessively play with whatever piece of string triggered the joke.

Well, the joke's on me, my friends.

Joy's hair-pulling stimmy activities didn't come out of nowhere. The dimmer-switch has actually been sliding for quite a while.

It started with dolly hair, as far as I can tell. My Little Ponies. American Girls. Barbies. Most of which, by the way, belonged to Rose. Miss Rose has been generous with the ponies, but the others have been rather a cause of contention.

Then it spread to other stringy things. She started picking up hair and fuzzy bits from the carpet, and gravitating to toys with strings. Here's what her OT reported on the subject on March 18:
Joy was really drawn to stimming activities today. It seems like every where there was a string for her to twist in her fingers. It was me against 10,000 pieces of string!

String for blinds
The hair-pulling seems a natural extension (though I guess you can't wear extensions if you don't have any hair there to begin with...) Here's from Lynda's daycare report yesterday:
She was putting a lot of energy into looking for strings. I took a couple toys out of the room that have strings. Ones she knows are always on the shelf. Even if I turn the toy so the string isn't visible, she knows it's there and will pull the toy out to get to the string. I tried substituting a squish ball thingy that [the OT] had brought for her a while back. She would play with it a few minutes, then go back to tracking down string. A couple good clumps of hair came out when strings weren't readily available.

Joy's been wearing a little pink hoodie-sweatshirt today, to pretty good effect so far. I so very much appreciate all the words of wisdom and encouragement on last night's post! It all feels somewhat more manageable this morning. My best guess is that the dimmer switch will eventually slide the other direction, as it has with many other less-than-desirable behaviors and stimmies.

I still see a potential buzzcut looming in the future, though -- if not as a preventative approach, then in service of evening things up when the hair starts to grow back in! Pixiemama, I don't "do" Facebook, but I bet your shaved head was adorable! Auntie RatM has even more extensive shaved-head/buzzcut experience. Makes her more aerodynamic and all.

Hey brother mine: "String... striiiing...STRIIIIING!!"


Anonymous said...

Yeah! Go for the buzz cut! Everyone should shave their head at least once, anyway.

Anonymous said...

Now I'm imagining every possible item with string that provides safe handling by Joy - possibly transitioning to something functional or play-like.

Like an (old) See-n-Say toy. (I think they still make them. Not sure.)

Happy to hear that both you and Joy are having a better morning. Barbara

Schnirelman said...

Most of the time at work there is nothing to set off my fetish, but occasionally I have to go into the server room, and suddenly


Anonymous said...

JoyMama, Rhema used to have a MAJOR obsession with string to the point that she would attack people's shoes on the street so that she could flap their shoes laces. On a 3 hr. flight, a man sat next to us on a plane absolutely amazed that R was content to play with a ribbons for the ENTIRE flight. Her string fixation was actually the very thing that clued my mother in to the fact that R might have autism. We had to hide all the shoes w/ laces in the house, remove curtains with tassels, etc. She is still very attracted to string, but it's not the obsession it once was.

One of the biggest things that helped was OT showing her appropriate ways to use string -- we would use the cardboard lacing toys and string beads.

datri said...

I always find the autism obsessions fascinating. I know they had to take all the musical flashing toys out of Kayla's classroom for a while because she would perseverate on them all day. Kayla's never been much of a dangler, so we haven't been through the string phase yet.