Impulsivity (or impulsiveness) is the inclination of an individual to initiate behavior without adequate forethought as to the consequences of their actions, acting on the spur of the moment.
Thank you Wikipedia for that definition. While technically accurate, it fails to truly comprehend the destructive nature of this behavior when it comes to Josiah. A more exacting definition of impulsivity in Josiah would be the need to touch everything and everyone, often times destroying or injuring said thing or person. Do we tell him no? Constantly. But the reality is that he does not understand or he does not remember that the behavior is inappropriate most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure there are times when he is being an absolute stinker, but it is impossible to discern when it is one of those times. Whether it's dumping the contents of the refrigerator all over the tile, violently clearing everything off the counter tops, tossing his cup of drink after every third sip, grabbing at food and slinging it everywhere, pouring the volume of dirty dishes from the sink, pulling people's hair, licking people's faces, sticking his finger in people's nose or mouth, the impulsivity is constant and relentless. In the case of this morning about 5:00am, he stepped on Mama's net-book screen and crushed it. In the past minute, he dumped a glass-full of dish water from the sink, pulled Judah's hair, knocked my glider rocker over, and snatched part of Judah's toy sending him off the deep end. And he is now standing in front of me naked. Time for a Poo Digger.
Josiah's need to perform self-stimulatory behaviors only magnify his constant motion and impulsive urges. In the Autism community, this is referred to as stimming. Stimming is "a repetitive body movement, such as hand flapping, that is hypothesized to stimulate one or more senses." In the video below, you see Josiah engaging in one of his favorite stimming behaviors. Needless the say, the arms of my couch do not accumulate dust. Don't you think pioneer women would have loved to have Josiah around during the pre-vacuum era when dust and dirt had to be beaten out?
Dr. M., our developmental pediatrician, explained to us that the neurotransmitters in Josiah's brain are not firing properly. The neurotransmitters that cause you excitement or fear, fire in Josiah's brain on a second to second basis. This is the cause of his constant need to move, and his inability to gather himself and focus. Jeremy and I don't know how this makes Josiah feel, but we can only imagine that it is exhausting for him to always be "on."
You can hear Judah in the background talking about Josiah.
The crazy thing is that he does all of this with a cherubic smile and innocent shine in his eyes. There's sheer joy and excitement in his movement most of the time and, occasionally, a little deviousness too.
Are our reactions always holy? Far from it. But we do have moments when perspective is our strength and God allows us to react in love and understanding. Sometimes. Jeremy and I know that my laptop is just a thing and our stinker meant no harm. The Risperidone that Josiah is taking is supposed to help regulate his agitation, irritability, and impulsivity. We are thankful for two out of three today, and pray that in time Josiah's impulsivity will calm.