For me it is never the war I fight each day with my son with autism actually or any of my kids to help them become the people they want to be in life. It is the daily little things that we work on that we don’t let drop that I have seen which create in him a person others will accept thou I know it’s selfish to want others to accept him.
Last night we were doing a spelling test and Bird really enjoys calling out the number on his page that corresponds to the number on the spelling test. He actually memorizes all of the first 5 or 6 words in the spelling test so it’s almost moot to call them out except that this is me pretending that I am the teacher who would not know that Bird has a limited photographic memory.
We got to #10 on the list of words printed for that week but for him it was #9 for where he was going to write the word and he and I went back and forth for a minute that it was #9 not #10. I asked him to read the words he had on the page and noted aloud that he skipped a word.
The idea that he had missed a word upset him and be stood up to throw out the paper in annoyance. I told him to sit down and write the word he missed and that we would both be on the same number again with the next word he had to spell. He lamented a few times that it would not be perfect and that this was not okay he needed to throw out the paper and start over.
I stated that he would need to sit down and keep working on that sheet or I would not give him the test and he will not have completed his homework.
He acquiesced and we moved on. While a fairly trivial thing these moments of needing to be perfect trip up the typical children as well. The deal is that sometime you just have to push through and finish then go back if you have time. Perfect is not something most of us will have the time for in life and that is okay.
Addition to this revision:
From and early age I attempted to help Bird deal with his rigidity by doing things to bring up his desire for sameness and then forte it and show him that it is really not life ending and can sometimes be fun.
I think it’s critical to show our kids that they can be flexible by trying out one of the following a few times in one week and then move onto the next and reintroduce ones you were unable to get your child to accept. BE KIND but realize that nothing stays the same so rituals will be broken when:the power goes out, a parents back goes out, a favorite bedtime story goes missing, a road is closed and you can’t drive home that way. These are all realities that you should want your child to be able to handle as rigidity is the easiest way to spot our kids! Try these out if you like and if not that’s okay too (this is me being flexible).
- drive home a different way
- forget to pack lunch
- pack a different lunch
- new shoes or coat unexpectedly
- breakfast for dinner
- bath before school instead of before bed
- be late or early
- invite a family member or friend to meet somewhere unexpected
- dinner at a different or any restaraunt
- a birthday cake for no reason!
You get the idea I am sure and it works. Bird is amazingly flexible as we were told this weekend by Children’s hospital where he went for testing on Executive Function, Rigidity and IQ. Cheers, Shannon 1/9/13