Learning a new task or skill comes easy to many people, but for other’s it can be a challenge.
At 51, I had thought I had learned everything I would ever need to know to make it in life. I was wrong. I am now learning about Autism Spectrum Disorder. I am learning that there are many different aspects of ASD and that what one person struggles with on the spectrum, may look totally different for another. Learning about ASD requires patience, finding resources that are reputable and are knowledgable about what they are teaching, as well as learning how to advocate for the person that has this disorder.
I have immersed myself into learning about how someone with Autism is affected my Sensory Processing Disorders/Sensory Overloads and when you are out in public, what may appear like a parent not taking control of their child, because the child is literally having a meltdown, it makes me stop and think now, before passing judgement. It could just be that the child really is having a tantrum (something they do when they don’t get what they want); when a child that has a neurological disorder succumbs to meltdown status (they have no control over how they respond, even though they wish they did).
As a person that has never relied on structure or any type of routine, I have learned how very important it is to have structure and routine, to be able to prepare our grandson, who is affected by ASD what will happen next. Learning about strategies in Autism is not just something caregivers should just glance over, it needs to become as much a part of you, as Autism is to your loved one. Because our grandson is non verbal, at the precarious age of two, I have had to learn what PECS means. I have had to learn about reinforcing behaviors and try to get into his world, at his level-instead of him in mine. And that’s okay, it’s just hard for me to get on the floor and play with him like I need to, but one way or another, we figure it out.
The PECS system is awesome. PECS stands for Picture Exchange Communication System. I am looking forward to getting some PECS from a friend later this week as her child has outgrown some of them. When he Autistic person needs or wants something, if they do not talk or sign, that’s where the pictures come in. They have the ability to look on their PECS board or in a binder and find what they want to tell you. When they hand you the picture, you can reinforce that is what they are asking for and take care of the request. Then the next step is to thank them and praise them for a job well done.
We also do a lot of motor skills play, learning to stack things and put objects in their correct location, working on cognitive functions as well as five million other things that neurotypical people (those without Autism or Developmental Delays) do automatically.
When our grandson was first diagnosed, it was overwhelming. More than I can even describe because I don’t know how to pour out those emotions on paper. I knew one thing for sure, though, I would do whatever was necessary to aid in his learning what he needed to learn to succeed in life.
So, the next time you are faced with learning a new task or skill, don’t be afraid to jump in with both feet. Even if you don’t get it right the first time, keep trying. Many successes that people have achieved have happened as a result of failures and lessons learned.
May you be blessed and remember Jesus Loves you!