Michael’s Day by Michael 🙂
Anyone who knows me knows my favorite two words these days-strategies and tools. Why? Well, it’s because my little guy has taught me the value of having good strategies and tools at your disposal whether you are an exceptional child or parent. We all need to have ways to organize our day, our thoughts and what is going on around us. Why should our exceptional children be different? Actually, they thrive with this and it helps them even more.
Many years ago when my son was in an adapted preschool there was a guest who came to talk to the parents at one of the evening workshops. These featured an occupational therapist, a speech language pathologist, as well as a nutritionist. Another evening, it was the father of a son with autism. He and his son were artists, and the son, though limited verbally, expressed himself through drawing and literally drew out his day and how he was feeling. It helped lessen his anxiety and communicate better with his Dad, teachers and therapists. There in that workshop I learned something valuable which I shared with Michael. After pictograms no longer worked, I began drawing stick figures of his day on paper so he would know what is happening. I would insert them in social stories. Then last year as Michael’s handwriting skills improved exponentially, he looked at me and told me he would now write out the day. What started as lines has now progressed to the words you see in the pictures in this blog post. Amazing! He will often ask me what is happening, then proceed to write out the day. It has helped him deal with anxiety, frustration and anger. Last week all I had to say to defuse a mini tantrum, was remind him to write out the day as we had talked about it the night before.
Whatever writing or drawing level your child is at, encourage them on paper to “draw or write out” their day. Michael used to do lines. No matter. As that father taught me all those years ago, they had meaning for Michael and I labeled them:
etc. If your child cannot draw or write, do it for them and talk to them about it. Or, if they are partly on their way to doing it, help them hand over hand. You will seen the amazing results in time with this technique.
Exceptional Parents, what tools help you and your Exceptional Child best handle the day? For some, it is pictograms, for some drawing, for some writing. Whatever the method, help your child learn to organize their day. Organize yours in a similar way. If they see you are a creature ruled by good habits, good tools and strategies, that will motivate them to find things that work to lessen their anxiety and stress. Until next time.