I know that normal parents deal with this all the time, but we’re dealing with a whole different wrinkle to the problem.
R has started to imitate the Monster.
Now, I do realize that younger kids are inclined to imitate their older siblings. It’s a great way that our children learn, and indeed, that’s the purpose of the program that the Monster is in at this point – to provide him with NT examples to emulate and imitate when he’s learning behaviors.
We’ve already, therefore, had the problem of the Monster imitating his non-NT classmates with things – he now covers his ears in the bathroom, since one of his classmates does likewise. We’ve seen some of his stimming behaviors pick up, and I’ve noticed that it’s what his other classmates do on the occasions when I come to school to pick him up for his gymnastics.
So yes, it’s natural that R would start imitating the Monster in some things… but the problem is, in some ways, it’s very bad habits he’s picking up.
R is already inclined to destroy things – he pulls books off shelves, leaves toys littered all over the floor, like all children his own age. On the other hand, he’s also imitating the Monster’s verbal communications, so he grunts a lot and gestures instead of using real words, even when he knows the right words for things. He’ll immediately parrot sounds that come out of the Monster’s mouth, mostly I think because he thinks they’re funny, and he’ll play with exactly the same toys that his brother was using a few moments earlier.
Now, I’m sure it’s just a phase, since he’s also exposed to plenty of NT kids while he’s out and about with his mother – he goes to the occasional playdate, and he’s in his mommy-and-me class weekly. Just something that we have to keep an eye on…
(Just as a note – sorry about not posting yesterday. I had to go serve jury duty.)
Your posting reminds me of when my two younger siblings were quite young. My brother being the youngest decided he had to imitate everything my little sister was doing. So if she decided she didn’t like a certain food, well that meant he didn’t like it either. You can imagine my folks were not thrilled with that.
The good news is, most kids grow out of the phase, but sometimes it takes some time and some gentle or not-so-gentle reminders from the folks in charge to work it out. In the long run, he’ll be fine. 🙂