I realized something this week, I am guilty of always thinking that my kids can’t do things. I am pretty sure this line of thought stems from Elisha’s ADHD and autism and wanting to avoid stress added stress in our home.
When you have a child with ADHD or autism, you already have a complex child and you want to make life as simple and calm as possible. At least that is what we wanted to do. Even the simplest things would cause meltdowns in the past. All of these things below have caused some form of sensory issue for Elisha in the past.
- putting on socks
- putting on shoes
- clothing needs to be simple and comfortable (no zippers or buttons)
- change in routine
- brushing teeth
Let me tell you, we have seen marked improvement in the past year and see little to no issues for most of these areas most of the time.
In the past, anytime that Elisha would try something new he would have a meltdown. We have seen this over and over again over the years. Instead of challenging him and pushing him to try new things, we avoided them. This was the best solution for us at the time, but I am rethinking that solution (for the season we are in now) because Elisha is coping with everyday things much more easily and I want to stretch him a little bit.
I have realized that we need to let the other kids surpass Elisha in whatever areas they need to. This has been a hard lesson for me grasp. I have always held it in my head that he is the oldest, so the other kids can’t move on until he does, but this kind of thinking is only holding all the other kids back.
I have also realized that because Elisha has been allowed to get away with saying, “I can’t,” the other kids are starting to use that excuse too, before they even try. I want to curb that excuse now before it becomes paralyzing for them. They need to grow up believing they can do anything they set their minds to, but for some things they may just have to work harder than others.
These thoughts were on my mind because I instituted daily journal writing and two children complied, while one complained (and not the one you would think). While talking to our support teacher recently, I was inspired to have the kids work REALLY HARD on their printing this year. The idea that we came up with was a SIMPLE daily journal that would increase in difficulty through out the year.
For the first little while we are going to go back to basics and work on printing the date, our name, and ONE word. Now, before you think this is crazy for kids who are in 3rd, 5th, and 6th grades, let me tell you something. We do most of our work orally or with projects that require very little printing. Printing has always caused a great deal of stress (and we avoid stress, remember).
For Elisha the stress was due to fatigue. He has low muscle tone and his hand and arm get tired very quickly when he is printing. This is compounded by the need to hold the pencil tightly and push very hard so he has some sensory feedback.
For the other kids, I just didn’t push hard. They would cry and say they couldn’t and I would back off (because I had been conditioned to prevent the meltdowns). I am not saying that I was right or wrong to not push them, but we are now at the place where they need to be pushed, so that we can move forward. They need to master printing this year, it is as simple as that. We are going to take it one step at a time and see how far we can grow in our skills this year.
If this is something that your child/children struggle with, you might find it useful to print out this week’s journal page and follow along with us on our journey.