Thursday, December 29, 2011

Do we do too much for our children?

I was going through my old drafts ~ you know, those blog posts that were started and then never finished! I found this one, dated March 2011.....


I have a child who wasn't fully toilet trained until he was ten years of age.  He still needs assistance with dressing. He has only just begun to put on his own shoes. He doesn't know how to brush his teeth. He can't undo his seatbelt. He can't make toast or cut up an apple......... and the list goes on!!


Nick does have motor planning issues and sensory problems blah, blah, blah!   However, have I been a bit lax in encouraging independence?  Yes, absolutely!!  It is all too easy to use the excuse, "oh, he has special needs!"  Silly me - I should have been encouraging and motivating him from the very beginning. Although, to be fair on myself, young Nick was never too keen to do anything with me. He was resistant to any suggestions and extremely stubborn to boot! 


eight months later....


I am pleased to report that Nick is now extremely capable of dressing himself, although at times the t-shirt is on back to front! As for the shoes, what a breeze.... dead easy for my boy! (don't ask me about shoelaces!!). He can undo any seatbelt and we now need to teach him how to put it on! The toast making is a bit iffy, although he collects all that he needs and also puts it away when finished. I haven't really made an effort with the apple, the way Nick waves a knife around is bit off putting! :) The toileting issue ~ at times I have responded to Nick's "uh,uh" (mama) only to discover most of the toilet roll unraveled on the floor. I quickly realised that I need to teach him how to tear a few strips off the roll. We are still working on this one!


This past year has seen me be a bit more proactive with Nick! The extra time that I have put into my boy has also made me more aware of his developmental level and what areas need to be addressed. This year has also made me realise what Nick *can't* do. For a kid with a multitude of challenges he is doing great... BUT he could be doing better! Life has been too easy for him, so easy that he is quite content to sit back and wait for us all to jump to his every whim. OK, that is a bit of an exaggeration but I am sure that you get my drift! He has a learned helplessness about him! On a positive note, Nick is no longer resistant to interacting/engaging with me! He can still be a bit stubborn, but hey, he is very nearly a teenager! :)


My goal for next year, my New Year resolution so to speak, is to use any opportunity to help Nick discover, learn and succeed. There is no rush. We will take it slow. We can do it! We will do it!


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In the following clip, Nick is trying to take the lid off the toothpaste. Yes, I know.... he is 12 and doesn't know how to remove the lid! Why is this you ask? Well, ummmm, *blush*, I have been doing it for him! 



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This video clip ran for 10 minutes, however, because I don't want to bore you silly, I have edited the footage to show you the first few seconds and the last few seconds. The clip shows Nick's lack of awareness of my perspective......... but wait until you see the end of the clip!!




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Helping Dad unload the car!!


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HAPPY NEW YEAR!



13 comments:

  1. I understand you completely. Well Patrik is 6 and last year with RDI we got first assignmet to think about Life activities we could teach Patrik to do... We struggled then to think what to teach him... Everthing was 'to hard' for a boy that age... for a boy with Autism... But we made our list and tried to stick with it. He showed us very quickly how capable he is... At that point we realised, this is the way we just have to live - yes it's harder life for us, as the things are not done in time we would have done it, but it's for the best for Patrik's future.
    I'm glad you realised this on your own... I needed a big kick in my 'a...' to see it...

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  2. Hi Petra, thank you for your comment. We live and learn! We both know that our boys are capable of learning. They will never stop learning and at the end of the day it is up to us to be there for them. x

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  3. I wonder if the movie "A Little Princess" ought to be required viewing for parents of autistic kids. Do you remember the beginning, when the maid dresses the girl completely? Then, when she arrives in England, she has no idea of how to dress herself and had to learn on her own. There's another good book too: "Understood Betsy" which you can read online for free. Required reading for all parents of auties.

    I love how Nick sweetly smiles when he starts to turn the book. I think you have a cool accent! Ha, ha!!!

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  4. What a great moment when Nick turns the book around, realising that you cant read the words unless he does so :):)

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  5. Zoe, I wanted to jump up and down with excitement when Nick turned that book! :)

    Tammy, I haven't seen A Little Princess, I live in a house of boys! Will also check out the book. I could kick myself for babying my son.... such is life. Nick is in for a very busy 2012 hee hee! Your accent is also cool!

    Happy New Year to you both.

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  6. Looks like you've had a successful year!! I still do too much for my guy and I must stop it! Thanks for reminding me!

    Happy New Year Di, to you and yours :-)

    xx Jazzy

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  7. Hi Jazzy
    Thanks for commenting, I don't think we are any different from other parents! ;)
    x

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  8. This was interesting for me and made me think about what I do for my boy: I always pushed my children to be independent - I was working, I needed them to be - and before his diagnosis with aspergers I would just get frustrated that he couldn't do stuff. And yes I still put the toothpaste on the brush for him. I must address these things in the New Year. Thanks for the reminder x Oh and I loved the book clip too :)

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  9. Hi there Blue Sky, thanks for dropping by! I guess it is all about being mindful of how we can help and also encourage our kids! :)

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  10. i enjoyed this post and the progress that Nick has made is great! i was told just after eilidh's diagnosis that i would have a tendency to mollycoddle (isn't that a great word to use on a kiwi's blog!) my child when in fact we need to teach them and empower them and show them all that the world has to offer... it's difficult though because you also want to protect them and help them as much as possible. i guess we need to find the right balance though? x

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    1. So true, we do have a tendency to MOLLYCODDLE (seriously love that word!), however, at the end of the day, it is more beneficial to us all to empower them....

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  11. Found you through Love all blogs! Really enjoyed the videos. Think we are all in danger of doing too much for our children. I used to teach in an ASD school and used to be amazed at what the children expected their parents to do for them when they were well capable of doing it for themselves at school! That was before I had my own children - one with his own special needs - and I realise how easy it is to do everything without pushing or challenging them too much. Look forward to reading more. xxx

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    1. Hello there,
      It's a small world, I have just read your blog on Special Saturday! :)
      Yes, it is so easy to do everything for them. I often have to say to myself.... hang on a minute, he can do that, stop doing it for him!

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