Flashing lights, tons of buttons, and rhyming songs Oh My…God get it out of my house! The electronic toys are adorable and fun, but for a child with ASD (autism spectrum disorder), they become hyper focus prisons. It might take a little time to replace the toy box contents, but the non-electronic toys are out there and they are so much better for promoting cognitive and engaging play.
In the heat of the moment, when those “terrible two’s” begin to take hold of your child for the first time, it can be really hard to recognize what is actually happening versus what it “feels” like is happening. But that outburst isn’t coming from a place of disrespect or disobedience; it’s an outburst of independence with a serious need to learn self regulation. And as difficult and backwards as it might seem, our response should be to teach rather than punish.
I’ve always prided myself on being an exceptional multitasker. I love having tons of projects going on at the same time. Even when my life becomes stressful and hectic, there’s nothing better that the feeling of relief and accomplishment when I can check off my To-Do list. I’ve always worked 2 or more jobs and had a side project going on. I just love being able to do it all.
My son and I had a really rough delivery and then everything after that just seemed to get harder and harder. As we struggled through not being able to breastfeed, I tried to cope with the immense guilt of feeding my precious newborn formula. His relentless cries brought us to the doctor and emergency room more times that I can count until finally a doctor recognized he was suffering from reflux, not colic (like we kept being told by multiple previous doctors). We moved twice, I had surgery, my husband was taking nighttime classes, and I started working from home. Our bills were piling up, cars were in desperate need of repairs, and no one was sleeping. As a new family, we were seriously overwhelmed.
When we got pregnant, my husband and I decided we were going to teach our child sign language. We learned that before a child is able to physically speak, as in having developed muscle tone and coordination to move the mouth, tongue and breath, they have the hand coordination to sign. And since their little brains are working hard on thoughts and feelings from the get-go, signing gives them the opportunity to express their needs. It also provides a level of confidence and patience since they know you will understand them, while preventing a lot of frustrating moments. Continue reading “If You Can’t Say It, Sign It”
My son is always holding something; a toy car, a ball, his blanket, a puzzle piece. We thought it was so adorable that wherever we went, he would find a “treasure” as we called it. The first time we went to a park, he found a tiny piece of tree bark and carried it around all day and then into the car and on the way home.
After telling the charming story to my OT (Occupational Therapist), she told me that he was actually using these objects to help ground himself. It’s a technique taught to those with PTSD to assist keeping the individual in the present. For my son, it was helping with his sensory needs.