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My Family
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Friday, February 15, 2013

Too Much of a Good Thing

When our Callie arrived 9 1/2 yrs. ago she had severe attachment issues.  One was that she hold up her hands to be picked up and within about 30 seconds was pushing away.  It was up then down up then down over and over again.  It was exhausting, but slowly and surely she spent more time being held and received touching in a soothing way rather than an uncomfortable feeling she resisted.

She never became much of a snuggler and the times she would actually sit in my lap or close by me were pretty rare.  This is why one of the behaviors we're currently dealing with is a bittersweet problem.  She is working on personal space.  She doesn't have great boundaries and her closeness and sometimes inappropriate touch makes many people uncomfortable.  Lack of boundaries is another consequence of attachment issues as are a lack of social skills.

Tolerating touch was something we worked long and hard on with Callie and now we find ourselves trying to teach her the difference between who she can touch, how she can touch and when she can touch.  Trying to explain to other typical kids in middle school, let alone adults,  she doesn't mean anything when she taps them on the chest besides - hey pay attention to me - is difficult.

As so often happens with Callie, it's a good "problem" to have.   It's a lot like when speech pathologists  exaggerate a sound knowing that once the person has it, they can back down on the exaggeration. Similarly we will continuing teaching Callie when and how to touch others.  It's a bit of the "too much of a good thing" problem, but considering the alternative that she might have never allowed touch and always been defensive towards any physical affection - I choose to deal with this.

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