Thursday, 23 July 2015

Moving a Child on the Spectrum

Well, we finally moved from our tiny apartment into a significantly larger one. It was not easy, but we did it. Last year was filled with so much change my partner and I were more than a little ready to create some stability in a new home where we could finish school and get ready for the upcoming year of work and travel.

Monumental changes in our house means prepping. We did lots of it. Moving a kid on the spectrum takes some strategic planning. I find that with a change comes a different routine of prepping our kid for the change. He's adjusts pretty quickly and I think we make more of a big deal out of it than he does, but it's when he realizes that things aren't the same or going back to the way they were it can be pretty difficult and usually results in a week of regressive habits, which we encourage if it helps him through the process.

It's only rough for about two weeks and then things even out in a new routine that we make as fun or intriguing as humanly possible.

I'll lay it out for you....

1. When we found out we were getting the new place, we would take a drive everyday to the new house. So, everyday for a month we drove our son to the new house and told him it was the "new house." Of course he wanted to go in, which is something he does with any house we pull up to. This was the goal to create the want for him to see it repeatedly and want to go in.

2. Every night at bed time (in the old place) we would go over, stars, planets, numbers, and then I would let him know we would be moving and that we would talk about stars, planets, and numbers in the new house. Whether I knew or not if it was getting through did not matter, as long as he heard it, that was what was important.

3. In moments of pure excitement (again in the old place), while playing outside, jumping on the bed, building forts, or having a cookie, we would incorporate the new place by saying, we're gonna have a new house to build forts in, or eat cookies in, or etc. etc. etc.

4. Finally after moving in we would keep mindful to stay away from the old house for awhile so that he could adjust. About two months after moving our old landlord had called reminding us to pick up some tires we had forgotten. When we went back we had kids in tow. I thought since it had been awhile (in a kids mind anyway) that he would let it go. He did for the most part. When we left the old house he simply said, "I'm sad, I want old house." He then turned his gaze toward the window and that was that.

Back to right after the move:
It wasn't easy for him. We saw some regressive behavior but after a couple weeks he sprang right back.

I will say the whole experience has been great in that we know what to do when we are going to make changes in our lives. There could be a possible move in the future and the move would be our biggest one yet. Though I doubt we could do the same little cruise to the new neighborhood as it is a two day drive away. We will have to employ a bulletin board with pictures of not only the city but the zoo, aquarium, and museum; all things he loves. Sometimes incorporating their loves is key and sometimes it's the only way to move through a spontaneous day of routine breaking.

As with everything patience is key.

Hope you have a wonderful day.

With Gratitude,

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Teaching Self-Love

Oh man, there are some days when I look at the world and look at my son and think to myself, "Damn." I'm less then ready for the onslaught of bull this world has to offer my kid. So many people speak a language of sarcasm and assholelery that even I have a hard time keeping up. You can't always tell if someone is being genuine with you. I never ask. I figure if that's the face they're going to show me, that's how they want me to perceive them. No, it's not always shits and giggles. Most times it's down right unpleasant, but I find it fascinating that of all the ways they could behave they choose to act the way they are acting.

I myself am super sensitive and find it terrifying that my son is more sensitive than me. I don't want him to hurt exponentially; to take things and internalize them. It's difficult teaching this to someone who sometimes has difficulty processing the complexities of communication.

I always say what I mean with him. Sometimes I play around, but if it's about him I am always direct and never joke about him. I think that it may just be the worst form of bullying, to make fun of others. If there was ever away to shove someone in the corner and kick them repeatedly it's in the form of making fun of someone, and worse, when others are present.

How do you prepare a child for that kind of world? I don't know. I think self-love is involved. Something I tell my son every night is that I love everything about him and to repeat this... "I am amazing." My heartbreaks every time I hear him say it. I wish these were things that weren't torn away from us as children. The world works on this military style training of our self esteem; breaking us down and building us up, over and over again. I just can't do it. I tell him "no" and lay down the law, but I do not and will not put him on a lower level than me because he is a child. I don't do that with anybody, why would I start with my kid.

I wonder if I'm just to much of an advocate for kindness. I know I'm less than perfect in the sarcasm department. I've verbally shoved my elbows into people. Maybe that's why I'm taking this sudden stance; a change of consciousness. Making my existence brighten others. I want that for my children. To live brightly, freely, willfully. No blind following, just leading themselves in a direction that they choose completely. I hope to example an unconditional love so free that they use this with themselves when they fall or when someone trips them. This is the most powerful tool I can give them. This and the power of being direct.

 I hope my son is the kid who when he likes someone actually tells them instead of punishing his crush with unwelcomed teasing or hair pulling.
This is something I fumble with daily. Every time someone glares at me, makes fun of me, is questionable with their genuineness, I think of my son and different ways I can teach him self-love. I think it starts with self-love? It might just be only that. It may not completely take the pain away but it will lessen it substantially. 

As always Much love and Tons of Gratitude,