Gerry was 12 years old when he came to our center about a year ago. Before he visited a special school. At school he did well for a long time, but after some month Gerry showed signs of being overextended. He expressed these feelings by throwing things, running away, crying, repeating words and sentences . Whatever they tried at school, his behaviour couldn’t be changed. By the end of February the situation got so far out of hand that Gerry couldn’t go to school anymore. After a few days rest at home, he came to us.

Also with us, he was very strained. All the activities we offered him he threw through the room and he shouted many words from school: didn’t deserve a token, don’t hit Gerry!. We notices that Gerry didn’t want us near him. When we came to close, he threw things to us or slammed the doors. Meanwhile he would still be coming towards us to get aroused. 

His behaviour became more and more extreme. He started peeing everywhere, even against us. He also started spitting us in our faces many times a day as soon as we came near to him. Also drinking became more difficult. He threw his drinks over us or over other children. He didn’t sit at the table. Even when we were there, he started spitting or peeing over the table. Gerry also put all kind of things in his mouth and ate it: batteries, nails, paper, etc)

After a basic training gentle teaching we started all over with Gerry: going back to the bases of building a relation. Gerry got a one to one support and during the day we gave him a lot of physical activities, like swimming, running, soccer etc. We totally ignored the peeing and spitting like it didn’t happen! And we started hugging him. In the beginning Gerry found this very scaring. Then we asked him spit or hug? and more and more he wanted to be hugged. As a result that we did a lot of hugging during the day.
Gerry also visited a medical doctor who raised his medication because he had an obsession with drinking. 

After about three month we could see changes in Gerry. Peeing and spitting decreased slowly and he was more relaxed. Now he can handle more difficult situations without getting strained. When things are getting hard for him, he asks for a hug. He also takes more initiative to make contact with us and it is obviously that he likes to be with us. 
What is remarkable, is that still spits with people who react negative on this behavior. 

Gerry’s parents report that also at home he has changed. He doesn’t spit at all anymore and he only pees on the floor before going to bed. He wants his parents to come and clean it. When he calls them, they go to him and clean the floor and give him the attention he apparently needs. Sometimes this helps, sometimes not. The parents are exploring what is the best way to support Gerry. 

This story of Gerry was written by one of Gerry’s caregivers. The gentle teaching mentor, who supported the team, told that he has much respect for caregivers. They went through a difficult time after deciding to ignore the spitting and peeing. They told that they worked with a towel nearby to wipe of the spit from their faces. They team was well supported by their manager. Not only moral support, but also concrete support, like temporary extra staff and a financial compensation for the costs of laundry of the clothes when Gerry had urinated on it. Reflecting back on the difficult time they all went through, the care givers all say that it was worth doing it this way.