And while the teachers and therapists have had wonderful success with this tool, implementing the concept at home has been hard.
I felt like it was anti- cozy: here, look at this itty picture instead of a verbal/ emotional connection with me.
And I was exhausted- setting up visuals, breaking down routines, actions, thoughts, emotions...can't we just limp along?
But then I wised up.
Just the sound of words, can be overwhelming not just to a kid with neurodevelopmental disabilties, but for most kiddos.
Giving a child a visual cue in place of a nagging mom, can help develop more independence, more self worth.
Blah blah blah...
So. I did it.
I even took a class at Portland State University one Saturday.
If I was going to do this, I needed guidance, and a phone number to call when in the middle of this horrifically hard organizational world, I could call and yell, "what the hell do I do now!?!"
But my friends, I bucked up, I did it, and I didn't even need to call for help!
Our first visual board was that for the morning hours.
I refused to use the visuals that the schools and therapists use.
Yes, it might make it easier for QLou to learn the method at home, with having the same visual- but I still couldn't get over the coldness I felt when putting lamination between me and my kid.
I could, however, get over it if I knew she was staring at a softer, more gentle image.
(Similar vanity barrier of mine when making her the sensory vest...I'm picking my battles, I promise).
For a lady mama, whose least able skill is that of organization, this has been a test of tenacity.
But I really do see the benefit, and if I ask my kids to work hard, working on becoming a best versions of themselves- I better be in the frey, right along side.
They just scoot those little pieces to the "finished" side, once their to do is complete.
This is just the start.
Next I have to label all of our bins for toys, art, lovies...
Then, a few visual boards to help with certain "sticking points" (ie. Fixations).
One for in the home, one for out and about.
Here is the start of the home anti-fixation board:
(Quinny gets stuck/ fixates when her anxiety is getting the best of her- they call it "coping behaviors". She'll hold on to a single thought or train of thought with every ounce of soul that kid has got until I either a. Give in or B. Meltdown.
Having a visual "list" of ways she can self-regulate will teach her coping skills that will come in handy in her life, tomorrow and when she's 35.
(Ie. She feels the anxiety rising, she goes and reads a book, or plays her puzzle, etc., to calm and distract).
With a beer in my right hand and magnets waiting to be cut, in my right-
I wish you all a beautiful, joy-filled new year.
May we all choose to make this world better with simple acts of kindness and endless amounts of empathy!