Meeting our Children where they are
Whether we have a 3 year old or a 15 year old
Whether they are developing normally or are having difficulties
we need to meet them….where they are
that is not an easy concept
so often we expect things of our children.
Whether it’s room cleaning, putting away dishes, or packing their own lunch
We assume they should be able, or should automatically know from seeing us.
We expect them to do things we have seen other children perhaps even siblings of our child doing
and we think, say …”why can’t you do that….________ can”
I am still guilty of this
and I look back
and see expectations I’ve set that were not appropriate
and now that we have a diagnosis of High Functioning Autism/Asperger’s for my 15 year old
I know why
he was not able to do some of what were asking
he was not defiant(most of the times)
he was not cantankerous (at least not all the time)
I have spent much of the last 13 years teaching and reteaching, simple tasks, simple social skills, simple thoughts
I have noticed my daughter is much more observant about household duties than either of the boys(who couldn’t care less which cupboard the bowls go in, or how laundry is folded)
but the boys know lots of facts about world news and products( something my daughter doesn’t care about)
So it’s hard teaching a 15 year old to once again…not touch the serving spoon to the plate you eat off of
wash hands before getting food out of a container
put wet swim clothes/towels in hamper…not under bed.. for the umpteenth time
and that’s where my learning sets in
I am learning
to be patient
to reteach in different ways
watch Temple talk about Teachable moments
to be compassionate
to teach things thoughts, feelings, actions, in a way that the Autistic/Asperger’s mind understands.
I’ve been reading a lot by Temple Grandin
in her books she is insistent that manners be expected and taught of all kids on the spectrum
that consistency is important
(yay I’ve done something right)
she also focuses a lot on teaching to how the child learns.(which some teachers are better at than others, so if you have the option of watching how teachers teach and interact you should do that before placing your child in a classroom)
Temple has so many words of wisdom in her books.
Why are her books so great??
because She has Autism…..and yet she is able to put into words the thoughts behind some of the behaviors we see in autistic children.
her doing that putting into words what our children cannot yet do helps us understand, empathize with our children….and then work in as many different ways possible to reach them and help them grow to be successful adults
after seeing behaviors in my son that I have questioned to doctors and teachers for a good 10 years or so ….now that we have the diagnosis ….it’s all making sense….I and my son are not going crazy….he has a neurological condition that affects the connections in his brain that changes how he sees the world compared to what Aperger/autistic people call nuerotypical people.
I don’t have a full handle on him and his behaviors, or his occasional outbursts.
but now I know why
I can do my best
(albeit far from perfect)
to Meet him where he is.