Believe it or not, there are still times when I wonder whether it’s best to plan ahead of time with Michael or be a little more spontaneous in family life. After all, both of these elements are important in building a well-rounded person. Though I know how important structure and predictability is to any child, especially a child with autism, learning to handle the unexpected is equally important. This could be anything from changes in plans, to disappointment to coping with overwhelming feelings. Kids need to be taught this and to practice it with their family and in other settings.
In Michael’s case, he needs more structure than anything else, but lately I have been noticing happily that he is becoming more flexible and able to understand things that are difficult, concepts that are challenging. He will also ask for clarification, and is really one to negotiate a situation to see if things can be good for him and me. It is actually kind of cute. I, for my part, am happy to see that he is starting to understand that certain ambiguity is part of life.
Things parents can begin to do to teach their child to handle adversity and challenges is to talk about challenges and how your overcame them, admit fears and that this is a normal part of life, and introduce various scenarios (role play) and ask your child how they would handle something like that happening. If a child is not there verbally, then using pictos to illustrate the situations, having your child draw out scenarios is another. Don’t be afraid to be creative! This will help your child take more from what you are teaching.
Exceptional Parents, how do you teach your Exceptional Child about predictability and spontaneity? How successful have they been at picking up either or both concepts? I would love to hear your stories! In the end, if there are problems in comprehension, it just means you need to return to the drawing board and try something else. Remember, never underestimate your child’s intelligence or resilience. They will be successful if you set them up for success and teach them to believe in themselves as wholeheartedly as you do. Until next time.
I am a writer, speaker and parent coach. I blog about how my exceptional son with Autism, ADHD, OCD and Type 1 Diabetes is raising me to a better human being and exceptional mom. My mission is to empower other exceptional parents to trust in their parenting instinct while letting their exceptional child open their eyes to all that is possible! For more information on my coaching services and to download a copy of my FREE EBOOK “5 WAYS TO HANDLE EXCEPTIONAL FAMILY ANXIETY” see my website, http://www.creatingexceptionalparenting.com