So in light of my sons issues, we’ve had to make a lot of changes within our family.
A big part of those changes meant that we had to re-define who or what we were as a family.
My DH and I had to change a lot of things about ourselves and the way we generally parented.
These are things that work well for us:
- Routine – this remains a challenge. I like routine but I’m relatively flexible. My DH is NOT governed by the time under ANY circumstances.
- Sensible diet – this is a post on its own.
- Insisting that our child does something physical (sporty) at school.
- Being VERY consistent.
- Not taking our kid to places where he wouldn’t be able to cope eg…we STILL only take him to places where he can run around if he needs to – no posh restaurants for us.
- Not taking our kid to people who would watch him and pass judgement on him.
- Filtering the sensory input within the home, because it seems to hype him up even more.
- Staying in touch with the teacher (AND the therapists) throughout the year and not just waiting for them to phone if there’s a problem.
- Exposing him to as many new things as possible – I want him to find THAT thing that he’s brilliant at – THAT thing that will hopefully be a way for him to earn a living as an adult.
- Practicing and role-playing situations – for example, my son doesn’t like any form of touch and he does occasionally make poor eye contact. If you don’t know him then you will think that he’s a bit abrasive – he’s not. Really. We practice things like how to accept a gift graciously (even if you HATE it – he will tell you if he doesn’t like what you bought him), how to know when you are getting into the next persons personal space, how to read people’s cues – he BATTLES with this, how to cope when people unexpectedly hug you etc. There is a lot of repetition but we just keep at it – someday he should hopefully get it right.
This list of 10 is not finite, every so often something gets added to it and we are slowly starting to relax a bit with points 5 and 6. But for the most part, things are OK. Sometimes there is a bit of a wobbly or a new situation and we first have to think long and hard about how it will work for him based on who he is, and often, he surprises us and swims through situations that we thought he might struggle with.
I have to say that it has taken YEARS of trial and error for me to be able to say that things are OK. It has meant constantly learning about what we are dealing with, it has meant having to roll with the punches, it has meant having to face a situation head on and see it for what it is.
Ultimately, as with any child, there are the nice parts and the not-so-nice parts and believe me, you DO get to a point where you find it easier to see the nice parts.