Of course, I find myself remembering this after a bad morning. Naturally. Hindsight is so very 20/20.
Being supportive and encouraging in the morning can help our families get off to that right start. It can give them positive fuel to help them during a day that’s filled with pitfalls and social difficulties.
On the other hand, beginning with recriminations and negativity can completely sap our strength, leaving us with nothing to draw upon later.
And how many times has that happened to us all? Only again and again, right? Arguments with spouses, running late, badly timed comments and criticism… it can all demolish our attitudes and energy levels.
So when we know a difficult day is ahead – and, let’s face it, every single day holds challenges for our AS kids – it’s imperative that we begin it well. That we fortify our loved ones and provide fuel for them when it seems like everyone else is either neutral or hostile.
No, we’re not perfect. We have bad days, too. But ouch, it hurts when we know we’ve already drained our kids before school has even begun!
In addition to encouraging self-esteem and positivity, exercise can get the body going. I know, it sounds so hokey. And I never believed in exercise or any of that… until I saw it actually work. This would be after looking on with a skeptical eye during occupational therapy sessions for my son. After trying it at home, in real-life situations.
And it does work. There’s just something about exercise that relaxes the mind and fills that need to move. The day really does go better afterward, and our kids have an easier time with sitting still and focusing on their lessons.
Not rushing is an imperative. Feeling rushed is akin to feeling panicked, and our poor kids just don’t need that stress and pressure. It can shut them down or cause a meltdown or throw them off balance for the remainder of the day.
Another thing we do on our way to school, if we know a particularly rough day lies ahead – say, when my son is recovering from a cold or is on antibiotics, or has some additional factor in his life – is a visualizing exercise I learned from a mentor of mine, a very wise teacher with a background in special education.
Imaginary armor, of course. And it can be tailored to the situation. In fact, it should be. We discuss putting on the various pieces of armor – helmet, gloves, and so on – and give them names as we go. Silly names – as my son has a sense of humor and loves to giggle about such things – or pompous names, like The Golden Helm Of Forgiveness, or The Elastic Gloves Of Courtesy, or The Metallic Greaves Of Kindness. He always has a sword, and shield, of course, and I let him name them. In his mind, they are always the most powerful, so giving him that control carries more weight in suggestive power.
If I had a girl, I might equip her in a princess or fairy outfit, complete with crown and wand/sceptre. Or I might let the armor stand. It would depend on the person.
Of course, not everyone is big into imagination. In fact, many don’t care for it at all. Many kids with Asperger’s find it difficult to stretch those imaginative muscles. So it won’t always work… but then again, it might. Only you know your child.
So, between breakfast and encouragement and not rushing, after exercising (if only briefly, at times) and positive interaction, our kids are ready to face their daily challenges.
Hopefully full of as much parental positivity as we can cram into them.
Note: Apologies to Subscribers… sometimes errors happen that I don’t catch until the thing is actually published. The last link has been corrected. Thanks for your patience and understanding (and I need a lot of that!).