Saturday, May 31, 2014

Taking it slow!


I don't know about you, but I tend to do too much for Nick. It is far easier for me whip up his fruit and veg juice, butter his toast and choose what fruit to give him for lunch, then spend the time guiding him through the process. To be fair on myself, I only rush through the process when we are on a time limit and have to be out the door quickly. 

Such is life!

We had a slow afternoon today and what a difference it made to both me and Nick. Having the time to just hang out offered up so many opportunities to engage with Nick. Before you think I am Supermum, we also had a bit of downtime in which to do our own thing. (Nick had a blast, chilling on the swing with iPad in hand!). It is all about balance, right? :)

I decided to take advantage of our extra time by using lunch as a starting point. 

The following two videos show how I slowed right down and gave Nick plenty of time to think for himself and decide what *he* wanted to do/get/choose. You will notice that I don't tell him what to do, although on occasion I do make declarative comments for him to respond to if he wishes. For example; I made a comment about putting the apples back into the fridge. He immediately said no and made the sign for "finished". Nick's decision didn't bother me, however, I decided to wait a little bit and see what happened. I didn't place any demands on him, it was entirely his choice what to do next.


I also ensured that he had a role to play, whether it be collecting the fruit, trying to cut the banana or help me peel the naartjie. There are moments that Nick gets distracted, however, I pause what I am doing and just wait for him to reconnect. I love the connection we share over the banana (from time code 1:25). This is where the cutting of the fruit becomes more about the *experience* than the task.



Note to self:

Define roles
Cut back on the chat
Use declarative language to invite a response and also spotlight the experience/success
Pause the action
Give lots of processing time

Ask myself: Is Nick using his frontal cortex or am I doing his thinking for him?




Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Books & Books




Nick has been going crazy over books. Sounds great, hey? What Mum doesn't feel joy seeing her child absorbed in books?

Well, in our case, Nick's need for lovely comforting static patterns means that he hauls books all over the house. We have books on cupboards, beds, couches, the floor, in the car. He wants to take books to school, the shopping centre and the coffee shop. He knows exactly where each book is. Quite often he will place the books 'just so' and then cover them with a cushion/pillow.

Awww, bless, it is so lovely that he adores books!

But.......

Our house is a mess and my car looks like a shopping basket. The more Nick disappears into his books, the more he retreats from the people in his life. I don't have a problem with him having some *me time* and I certainly don't want to take away his pleasure of books. However, I am concerned about Nick's static patterns and his craving for sameness. I am thinking long term obstacles here!

Anyhow, I decided to approach the issue (and mess) from an RDI angle.

I felt that the best way forward would be to plan an activity around cleaning up the mess. We are slowly going through the books and deciding what to do with them. Needless to say, there is a lot of reading going on which Nick is really enjoying. We have two designated spots (see pictures below) and after reading a book or skimming through a mag (my role), Nick chooses where to put it (his role). At this stage Nick is finding the activity challenging and I am providing some scaffolding to help him decide where to put the book/mag. This activity is going to keep us going for a few days (weeks!!) and as Nick starts feeling more competent I will vary our roles and add in further changes/patterns.

Note to self:

Only choose a few books/mags to work with (5/6).

Pause a LOT so that Nick has plenty of time to *think* about what he would like to do.

REMEMBER: The activity is not about the task, it is about the engagement between us.

Vary our roles and patterns in future planned engagements.

Write down any future activities that come to mind. i.e. Fixing the ripped pages with sellotape. Cleaning a bookshelf. Stacking books. Carrying books. Choosing pictures from magazines. Go to the Library. Throw away the rubbish!






We got sidetracked!



Monday, May 12, 2014

Taking our time!


"I need two oranges to make your juice"

It is 6:30am on a Monday morning. We are walking into the kitchen in order to have breakfast before heading off to school.

Nick immediately goes to the small CD player and turns on his music. Katy Perry is singing 'Roar', as she always does whenever Nick turns on the CD. Should she not be on the play list, Nick searches until he hears her voice. All I can say is, thank goodness he is over his Britney phase!

I potter around the kitchen, giving Nick time to respond to my initial comment, ("I need two oranges to make your juice").

I get sidetracked as I make myself a cup of tea (weak, black and no sugar). I turn to look at Nick who is doing a little jiggle, dancing along to Katy. As I start to say, "hmmm, I wonder if Nick has remembered the oranges"... I turn towards the juicer and notice that the oranges are already there, just waiting for me!

Big grin ~ there is NOTHING like the power of the pause!

I collect the carving knife and go to stand near the bench on which the juicer sits. I wait. Nick is absorbed in his music. I clear my throat.

Nick looks to me...... so I hold up an orange for him to see. I wait.

He realises that he has a role to play and comes to join me.

I cut the oranges into halves and then pause. Nick picks up one half and places it onto the juicer and holds it there. A few months back he was too scared to go near the juicer.

I  love the concept, *edge plus one*. I take Nick to the edge of his competence and then another tiny challenging step. Slowly but surely he is making progress.

Together we finish squeezing the oranges. With a puzzled expression on my face, I look around for the glass. Nick follows my eye gaze from the juicer to the bench. He realises what is missing and goes to collect a glass from the cupboard.

Oh the joy of my child referencing my face and body language for information.

"Nice one, Nick. We made the orange juice together and you realised that we needed a glass"


Note to self:

Use language that invites a response.

Pause and wait... and then wait some more.

Always keep in mind the concept, *edge plus one*.

Stop talking so much; also communicate using facial expressions and body language.

Give my child many opportunities to *think for himself*

Spotlight success.

~*~

This weekend, for the very first time, Nick asked me to take him to the end of the jetty. Huge!








Thursday, May 8, 2014

We are back!


We took a break from RDI ~ for five weeks! 

The time was over in a flash and I am now ready to get back into the swing of things. We have been taking it slow for the past week. Hanging out together, going with the flow and reconnecting. I have been testing the water (so to speak) to see if Nick is still keen to be my partner during co-regulatory activities. I purposely didn't set up any planned engagements as I wanted to focus on daily happenings and ensure that Nick had many opportunities to play his own role during our interactions.

For example: 

If I was unloading the dishwasher, I would invite him to help me.
When making juice, I would wait for Nick to join me and take his turn
During our shopping trips he would assist me in various ways.
I involved him during the preparation of meals and lunch box snacks.

Well, it was all so easy. Nick has comfortably slotted back into RDI life with Mum, although he soon lets me know when he has had enough of doing chores. As does any kid, I guess!

Note to self: Include Nick in daily chores. Give him his own role to play.