No matter how many skills Michael continues to learn and the intelligence he display daily, there is something he still struggles with and I know will for years to come, anxiety and worrying about the future in the shape of negative forecasting. He comes from a whole long line of us worriers in the family, and as a child and adult who was a huge worrier and is slowly learning coping mechanisms, I feel his pain. As frustrating as it is as a parent when I am trying to make him see to take it one day at a time and he is worrying about one month from now or six, I know what he is feeling as the insecure child. In addition, I am noticing all kinds of tics or OCD type behavior when he is feeling most stressed. He will walk over certain parts of the pavement if he feels he didn’t do something right on our walk, he will tap a wall or light walking passed it. I know these are probably OCD tics, so staying calm and reminding him to relax takes on a whole new level than my Mom had to do with me when all I had was the negative forecasting. We were told by a doctor that medication for the anxiety and obsessions would not be a good idea as it would make some of the other traits of his autism worse. At any rate, we don’t want him taking medication unless there is no other choice. First we plan on exploring many other avenues to help Michael learn to control his anxiety, such as CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy). The school psychologist will be working with him on a weekly basis to help with showing him ways he can relax and handle stress and anxiety.
So how do I help Michael with his negative forecasting? Well, other than the counselling he will be receiving at school again this year, I use tools the Psycho Educator from our community advised last year. These don’t work all the time, but I’m hoping with practice he will learn to walk and move when he is stressed, find a quiet place to cry or get his emotions out, and learn how to talk more about his feelings to me or someone also he trusts so they don’t overpower him. I also have found great tools on sites like Pinterest which have pictograms depicting emotions. I have them up on the fridge for Michael to refer to when he is stressed, and help him learn to express himself easier. He is starting to use these tools.
Exceptional Parents, what has worked for you and your child when handling anxiety and negative forecasting? What kind of tools do you use and what has been recommended to you? All of our children are different, so of course there is no “one size fits all” solution. As with all else, the best thing to do is to look at the problem from your child’s level of understanding and try out different techniques with them to see what works. Above all, having patience and staying calm is the best you can do for both of you as they will learn patience with themselves too. Until next time.
Feeling stressed about special needs parenting? You are not alone. Download my FREE EBOOK on “5 WAYS TO MANAGE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” here: http://www.exceptionalparenting.site88.net.