Feeling incompetent is a horrible sensation. The heart pounds, the mind goes into overdrive and the body immediately hits fight or flight mode. Being challenged beyond the safe zone that I know is scary, however, having personal experience gives me some clues as to how my son feels when faced with the unknown.
Understanding that new experiences can be stressful helps me to be mindful about my approach with Nick (and myself). Using co-regulatory activities and the edge +1 concept, I assess Nick's level of competence and plan my next step to ensure that he is continuing to learn, yet scaffolding the activity in such a way that I don't overload him.
There are many ways to help guide him to make sure that he has opportunities to think for himself and make his own plans. I use non verbal gestures, declarative comments, noises, facial expressions, self-talk, modeling and spotlighting. The power of the pause also works a treat.
The following video clip is of our latest RDI planned engagement and is a good example of how I guide Nick. As you will see, Nick is not that keen on helping (that feeling of incompetence?), however, he stays with me! I carry on with what I am doing and invite him to join in. I immediately pick up on his sensory and motor planning problems and scaffold our engagement to make it easier for him. As soon as he starts showing signs of feeling competent with his role, I add in a little variation, making sure that I let him know what I am doing. I keep the new pattern relatively simple to ensure that we end on success.