Saturday, August 4, 2012

10 Things I've learned raising JT.

1. Try.
    You never know unless you try something. Think a movie would be a disaster? Yes, he has ADHD, but it might work!

2. Try again.
    Don't let a single failure hold you back from trying it again. Just because he couldn't do it yesterday doesn't mean he can't do it today. You never know when that miracle is going to happen, so keep trying. So the first movie wasn't an overwhelming success, but movie 3 was absolutely perfect, just because you took him to 2 more movies! He loves them now, and begs to go. You just never know!

3. Believe in the good.
   There are news stories, personal stories everywhere about how widespread bullying and mistreatment of kids with disabilities are. Within reason, though, you have to trust the people that care for your child, the kids that are around your child. In the few years JT has been in school, there have been more kind people by far than people who don't care (and I can't think of one that would want to 'hurt' him in any way). Human nature appears to be far more kind in JT's schools than the news makes it appear around the country.

4. Let him fail.
    There will come a time when you won't be there to catch him. Yes, it will break your heart if things go wrong (and here's a forewarning... at least in social interactions, it WILL go wrong the first few times at least). But he needs to learn. And fail. He will pick up on what he needs to move forward to make the next time more successful.

5. Listen closely.
    Even before JT was verbal, he was communicating all sorts of things with me. His body language, his eyes, his mood... if I 'listened' closely, I could tell something was wrong. When he gets upset now, his verbal language decreases and I have to read his body. It's amazing how well you can read someone when you're really paying attention, even if they're not saying a word.

6. Keep going.
    Some days it's just putting one foot in front of the other. Progress seems slow, or, at times, you feel like you're moving backwards. Trudge on, because it's the only way to keep going.

7. Have patience.
    Autism is trying on its' best days. Keep going, it will get better.

8. Find people you trust.
    A good teacher is important. A good doctor, too. These people are key in JT's treatment and progress. Don't discount their worth. And when you get good ones, don't let go.

9. Stay calm.
    The biggest lesson I've learned from JT? His mood matches mine. So if I'm stressed out an angry, JT is stressed out and angry. If I'm calm, he is perfectly amicable. It's all in how you present a situation. You can teach better ways of coping without him getting in 'trouble'.

10. Have fun!
      Above all, he is just a kid. He wants to play, have fun and just be goofy. Put that first. He will only be a kid once, and you'll never get it back. Enjoy it while it's here. It's hard to not want to try to play catch up 24/7, but it's not worth it. Have faith progress will happen, and let him enjoy himself like other kids do.

11. (Yes I realize that's over 10) Don't forget the melatonin.
      This is JT at 12:30am. Full moon, PLUS Z forgot to give him his melatonin. Don't forget the melatonin. Ever.

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