Picture it. Your child’s screech pierces the air as you pass by the aisle of treats in the grocery store. Your intelligent brain tries to reassure you that you are right to not give in to the demands for candy, but, your ego’s voice is screaming, “Give him the damn candy and shut him up! EVERYONE is looking at you!” Next scene. You are an educational assistant and you and the student you assist are calmly and discreetly entering the classroom and joining the other students in a learning centre. Without warning, your dream of discretion is shattered by fingers gripping securely into your arm and the force of a determined pre- teen drag you backwards. Your face turns red, your arm throbs and all eyes are on you. How do you feel in each of these scenes? Is your heart pumping fast, climbing up in your chest, face flushing,
Personally, I don’t think so. I think it’s fairer to say that people CAN BECOME a better version of themselves when they raise special children. Disabilities happen. Diagnoses happen. It is how we respond to the events that makes all the difference in our lives and in the world. Life events leave us with a whole plethora of choices in how we will react. Some choose to ignore the child’s atypical development; bury their heads and hope it goes away. Some choose to let their anger and bitterness spoil their spirit and their relationships. Some choose to become “warriors” and fight for their children. None of these responses is bad or wrong in and of themselves….if they are temporary reactions. But, when they become cemented in a pattern of response…the results are problematic. I don’t pretend to know God’s mind. The God I believe in is a God who loves perfectly
The autism consultant tells us that we need to use visual schedules to break down tasks into smaller more manageable steps. Eager to do anything and everything to improve life for the child and ourselves, we log on to the computer and launch into the creative flurry of making visual symbols and pictures for schedules and supports. Sometimes, we get so excited about finally knowing what to do that we forget the 10 binders full of pictures from the last creative burst! Step away from the computer...think first... You are starting to sprint and it is a marathon, not a race, remember? Visual schedules are an awesome tool to use for expectations or situations that repeatedly cause problems. If you find yourself constantly needing to explain, coax or threaten a child with autism to wash his hands, hand in homework, put items away, move to the table when
Mom's advice: A friendly reminder to all of my kiddies that going back to school may be brutal for some kids. Watch and listen carefully for those who may be nervous, sad, or lonely....even the teachers! Be compassionate and kind. A smile can go a long way to easing stress. AND don't forget to speak positively! Stop yourself from getting caught up in any negative trash talk, gossip and judgement...about other kids and teachers. A good year starts with good thoughts. Be true to who you are. Leave the masks, facades, bravado at home and let your classmates and colleagues know the real you, right from the beginning.