Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Therapy Thursday...A Controversy

Our Goldilocks sleeps behind an alarmed door. She has since she was 4 years old. It is for her safety, as well as the safety of our whole family. She loves her alarm and so do we! It gives all of us peace of mind and precious sleep.
I have heard so many families in crisis with a RAD or FASD child who are advised to alarm their child's door and do not want to do so. They feel that it will be like putting their child in prison or will damage their self-esteem. They argue that it shows they do not trust their child (which rightfully they shouldn't because of the child's behavior). I have even heard that their child will not obey it, so what is the use. 

My question to them is ~ how do they sleep at night? I will not go into all of her behaviors as a young child to protect her privacy. However, I will say that it was dangerous for everyone involved to have her loose in the house in the middle of the night. I was one sleep-deprived Mommy sleeping with one eye open all the time. When we were advised by her therapist to get an alarm, we went out and got one that very day. Over naptime, we made a game out of training her to stay in her room and not open the door. The 200 decibel alarm was enough to convince her to keep her door closed. She only opened it three times that first day. She has only opened it a handful of times in the past 6 years. Most of those times have been a mistake that were followed by an immediate apology. 

I think one of the most important factors in making Goldilocks comfortable with the alarm was to tell her it was to give her peace of mind. In her birth home, she never knew what scary person would come into her room and what they would do to her. We told her that only we knew how to get into her room without the alarm going off. She was finally safe in her own room. NO ONE could come in and hurt her. In addition, we told her that we needed to know that she was safe so that we could all get a good night's sleep. People who have lots of sleep have more fun during the day. We have always told her that in an emergency she can come out, and she should not worry about setting off the alarm if she needs help, such as vomiting or there is a fire. The alarm is truly a comfort to her, and she reminds us if she does not hear the beep of it being set when we close her door at night. 

I sometimes wonder how long we will keep the alarm. Will I still be setting it when she is 15, 16, 18.... She is indeed much younger than her age of 10. That is a result of FASD. We do not know how far she will mature. What I do know is that I am so grateful that we introduced it to her as a gift we were giving her and that she appreciates it. Although I do think there will be a time when she does not need the alarm anymore for behavior's sake, she may  always "need" it for her sense of security.



  1. You are a wonderful mom! (((Dawn))) You have a beautiful way of sharing and explaining things to your children!


    PS The doughnuts are all gone!

  2. I think it's great the way you showed Goldilocks that the alarm was a positive, comforting thing for her. I'm so glad that it helps her feel safe and protected. I, too, don't know how parents of children with RAD, FASD, or severe autism would survive without alarms.

  3. Sharing this with a sweet friend who is fostering a special little guy. Nighttime can be scary with a young one wandering about.

  4. I love your positive side to this and will be sharing with a friend who has a special child.

  5. Peace of mind and a peaceful nights sleep!! Wonderfui! I can't imagine having a child up and around in the night, its too dangerous!

  6. Yes that sounds like it is wonderful peace of mind for all. Yes, perimeters and boundaries give security to a child and even adults.

    Blessings and ((HUGS))
    In Him<><