Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Small Irritation, Big Deal

Our son, like many kids with autism, thrives on sameness, and a break from the routine often poses challenges. And so, after a long winter break, we wondered how Kai would do on his first day back in school. It turns out that he did pretty well.

Except for lunch.

It is so Kai-like that he got a nearly perfect score on his point sheet for every period except lunch. One of his teachers wrote us a note saying that Kai got frustrated when he had trouble opening the container that held his lunch. Several teachers tried to assist him, but he repeatedly rejected their help and instead got more upset. After that he refused to eat lunch.

On one hand, it is great that he had a good first day back at school overall. But, it is also frustrating that he would let such a seemingly small thing upset him so much. It would have taken no effort on his part to let someone help him. Instead, a minor irritation became a big deal.

We see the same type of thing happen at home and it can really exasperate us. I know that it is his autism that makes him behave this way, and that I need to patiently deal with it rather than get frustrated. But, I think sometimes even we parents are prone to having the same attitudes as those who do not notice our son’s silent disability.

We see a kid who is bright and happy and everything is fine. Until it isn’t. Something will happen that doesn’t make any sense to us. When we try to tell him to do things differently, and he does not seem to listen to us, it is easy to feel irritated.

In those moments, we probably need to employ the same coping strategies we are trying to teach him. Breathe deeply. Squeeze a ball. Count to 20. Step away and take a break. Don’t let a minor irritation become a big deal.

Hopefully, Kai will have an even better day at school today. Although he’s already had a not-so-small irritation when his cab came 20 minutes late this morning. I just hope he doesn’t let other small problems become big ones. And, hopefully that will be the case at home, too. But, just in case, I’m going to go and meditate.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...