Monday, 12 March 2012

Crisis Averted


We survived our first day of school after a week off!  And, in spite all the odds stacked against us, we managed to do it with smiles and laughter.

But, it didn't start off that way . . . .

Daylight Savings Time is a nightmare!

Add the first day back after March Break to the mix and you have your own horror show.  Sometimes the world we live in can be downright cruel to kids.

Then, as if that wasn't enough, your mom decides that today is the perfect day to implement Phase 1 of Elliot's Anxiety Reduction Plan.  This title is simply used here for dramatic effect and is not actually used in our household.  I promise!

Mix all three together and what do you get?

One gigantic sensory overload and an enormous meltdown.

Trust me, the irony of this whole situation is not lost upon me, and since the above mentioned mishap, I have decided that Phase 2 needs to involve a lesson in timing for the mother behind all this lunacy, aka "me".

This is how we started off the morning:

It doesn't look promising does it?

I knew what we were in for today, though, so I came prepared.  The evening before, I went over the day's schedule with Elliot and familiarised him with his cue cards for our daily routines, which we hung on the pantry door.  Many of these routines are not new to him, but having them written down and displayed prevents him from becoming overwhelmed.  Rather than trying to remember all  the things he needs to do to start the day off, Elliot can now just focus on each individual task.  And it helped! Well, that is after I got him out from under the blanket.  Typically, mornings are very difficult for Elliot because all these tasks, like getting a shower, eating breakfast, getting dressed, and making your bed, get all jumbled up in his head and he doesn't know where to begin.  Hence the cocoon. 

The cue cards

School routine

supper routine - sounds crazy, but supper time is NEVER easy for Elliot.
 Welcome to Krista's militant regime . . . er, I meant to say home . . . tee hee!  It does seem over-the-top, but the books I read promise it will alleviate some of Elliot's stress.  Here's hoping!

After everyone was washed, dressed and fed, we hit the books.  The beginning of our school day went something like this:  Avery got right to work.  He LOVES the posted schedule and cue cards.  He is so funny!  But, Elliot took some prodding.  He fretted that his spelling words were too tough, he complained that he would NEVER finish all of this work, and then he cried:  "Mom, what is wrong with me?  What's my problem?". 


 Before implementing Phase 1, I needed to talk to Elliot.  I had become so caught up with how I was going to help him, and what I had to do, that I forgot to discuss the diagnosis with Elliot.  And the Worst Mother Ever Award goes to . . . . Ugh!  I felt terrible.  Mr. Level-headed and I had intended to talk with him over the March Break but we didn't.  It just never seemed like the right time.  Well, as they say: there is no time like the present.  So, I sent Avery upstairs and Elliot and I sat on the couch.  I showed him a picture of a brain and explained that the left side of his brain was stronger than his right, but that his right side can be strengthened by doing sports, playing the piano, and doing art - all things he loves to do. I explained that he processed knowledge through words and only words, which was why he found it difficult to read people's expressions and their actions.  Even though I was super positive about everything, it didn't go great.  He kept referring to it as his problem, and he was scared that no one would like him anymore.  I assured him this was not the case, and I talked a lot about Mr. Level-headed's dyslexia and how it didn't stop him from having friends, going to university, and so on.  Then Avery came down, and Elliot told him.  He was relieved that it didn't change Avery's opinion of him (I am sure Avery had NO idea what he was talking about anyway).  Luckily, it was break time, so I sent him and Avery outside (more about that tomorrow).  It is amazing what a beautiful spring morning can do for one's attitude.   He came in chipper and eager to get to work.  Excuse me, who are you and what have you done with my son . . . .

After completing all of his work for the day, Elliot laughed:

 Do you know what mom?  My problem isn't so bad.  It just means that my friends will now have to talk to me all smartific-like, or I won't understand them.

Why is that Elliot?

Well, because I have this HUGE brain.

Yes, you do my, love.  Yes, you do!

1 comment:

  1. You are always so good at turning a negative to a positive. I love how your posts are so uplifting.