Do you find yourself frazzled and frustrated with your child not listening?
Are you walking on eggshells when you know you have to tell your child "No" because you know the meltdown that is about to happen if you say the word?
Does your child struggle to wait and adjust to changes?
For neurodiverse children (children with ASD, ADHD and other developmental disabilities) there are some key skill deficits that lead to high level challenging behaviors and emotional meltdowns. Once we can increase children's skills in these areas and build their resilience, children are in a better place to learn and grow.
Often, difficulty with these skills is a barrier for children engaging in other therapies such as speech, OT, physio and general psychology. Once we increase our children's competence with following instructions, tolerating "No", waiting and flexibility, the door of learning possibilities opens!
I like to represent this as a journey up a mountain. First, YOU as a parent or caregiver have to work on your mindset. Get support for yourself and be ready to lead with a loving heart to make positive change.
In my upcoming online course I will be going through the process of understanding why behaviors occur, understanding why neurodiverse children struggle, caregiver mindset and how to teach your child the skills they need to reduce challenging behaviors.
Before jumping into understanding behaviors, first we must build a positive mindset and intention for what we will be doing. This involves taking a few seconds to visualize the ideal response that you will have from your child. Imagine a situation that is typically stressful and visualize the outcome that you want to experience (e.g. your child putting their shoes on when you ask them to).
Close your eyes and visualize, take a deep breath, become aware of the feeling you have when your child responds in a calm way.
Come back to this quick visualization during the day to calm your own mind and body before working on the skills with your child.
Leading with love
First things first... always lead with love.
Always keep this in mind and know why you are doing something and why you are responding in a certain way. Leading with love isn't about allowing your child to always get what they want, but it's about knowing when to set boundaries and when to give your child the opportunity to negotiate. It's also about teaching your child that they can appropriately advocate for themself, they can express when they don't want to do something (in an appropriate way) and sometimes you will follow their request.
Loving your child means helping them learn and grow to become independent.
Loving your child means providing a secure environment by setting clear and realistic boundaries.
Loving your child means acknowledging how they might be feeling at that moment.
Loving your child means making time without distractions to connect and play WITH them on THEIR level.
Loving your child means supporting them through their mistakes by giving them explicit and kind correction (so they learn what TO do)
Loving your child mean reinforcing them when they are engaging and responding appropriately (even if they needed your help).
If you are interested in learning more about why behaviors occur and what you can do to help your children unlock their door of learning possibilities, register for the upcoming complimentary webinar on Tuesday May 16th from 8 to 9:30pm MST (Edmonton time).