Sunday, March 1, 2009

Enforcing Rule #2

Please read the earlier post for details on Rule 2
We live in the mid-west and hibernation is NOT an option. So what did we do?

First, we took a closer look at the situation to see if we could define "scary" and "squishy." When working with a three-year-old, this can be a challenging task. But we found out that typical "ski jackets" are very noisy. As you put your arm into the sleeve there is a swishing sound. Every time you move there is a swishing sound. When you sit down the coat rubs the "swishy" fabric on your neck. Could these things be the culprit? After much trial and error we found a cloth jacket with no neck. This coat was much more acceptable to Crash, but it certainly did not solve all the problems. In order to get the coat on we went back to the visual schedule we used for dressing and made more picture symbols for outside clothing items and added another surprise at the end.

Next, we found some very light weight cloth mittens (without tags). We also found a hat that tightly squeezed his head. Crash is a fan of deep pressure and finds it calming. My thought was maybe the hat could provide a little of this deep pressure to help him organize his body to tolerate these winter experiences. Well, it was a good thought, but winter experiences are still challenging.

So how does Crash make it through each day? Sensory Mommy picks and chooses her battles. Does he really need to wear his boots if there isn't a foot of snow on the ground? Will his fingers fall off by the time he gets from the house to the car? Is it really cold enough for snow pants? When the answer to any of these questions is yes, we use our visual schedule and a very motivating surprise, and the phrase, "You can take them off as soon as _____." We let Crash decide what items to put on in what order and then follow our schedule. We encourage him to talk about his dislike for items of clothing and we acknowledge how he feels while reinforcing the importance of wearing the specific items. Does it work all the time? No. Is it ever his choice? Not really. But it allows him to feel as though he has a tiny bit of control over something that is so obviously painful for him.

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