We've had a week with Youth Digital, and what a week it's been. My early morning writing has been regularly cut short by the pitter patter of little Java coders. My wife came home on monday to tell me that she found him at summer camp teaching his friends the "Java Dance."
When you're dealing with a kid on the spectrum, you learn to accept that there might be some obsessions. I've decided that the best thing you can do is try to introduce them to things that are at least constructive things to be obsessed about. I'd count programming among those things.
The only problem we've been having arises when it's time to leave the obsession. After a couple mornings of total freak-out, we banned modding in the morning. It was just too disruptive to thewhole process of getting everyone fed and dressed and sunscreened.
Of course, that didn't really help with getting ready for bed. The real issue I think has more to do with the negative relationship between executive function and sleep. The less he gets, the worse it is, and we've been living the last few days like there's a rabid bear in the house. To be fair, the parents haven't been getting enough sleep either, and it doesn't help our level of patience. I'm sure we both could have dealt with the bear better.
The whole thing came to a head Saturday, with much shouting and punishing. The bone of contention was that the parental units had decided that the family should take advantage of their Maryland Science Center memberships. The bear wanted to stay home and design another sword. It's just as well his previous sword was only virtual, or there might have been bloodshed. In the end, he lost Minecraft of any form (modding, playing, watching videos...) for three days.
Ultimately, we made it to the science center in time for "Mess Fest." Although we spent much of the afternoon at the old favorites, we did manage to leave happily spattered in multicolored paint. The idea of mounting several small paint brushed on cordless drills and letting the kids go at a big sheet of paper was brilliant. I just might steal it. The bear was gone, and we had our little nerd back.
On the way home, he lasted about a kilometer before zonking out. He woke briefly as I carried him from the car (I'm really going to miss being able to do that when he's too big). Then he was out again. To our shock, he slept right to bedtime, and then through the night. In the end, he got 12 hours sleep.
The bear appears to be gone. Fingers crossed. We're sticking to Minecraft ban for a few days, and then we're going to limit with a timer.