Wednesday, March 21, 2012

" no... It's tomorrow!"

B's ability to perceive and anticipate time is nonexistent.  Even at 6 years old~ he cannot tell you what the weekend means, or that school is on Mondays.  He's a kid of the moment.... right this instance... the here and now.  It makes many things very difficult... especially during holidays.  When he sees Christmas decorations~ that means Christmas is tomorrow.  When he sees birthday presents~ that means they are for him.  When he hears we are going on vacation~ we are leaving tomorrow.  Now here's the other probelm~ he doesn't like things "sprung" on him.  For instance...we cant just make a spontaneous plan to go to the market.  Or to the zoo.  He cant just hear... "let's go to swim lessons now" or "it's time to go". In both cases he begins to panic and have emotional fits.

As his parents, we have learned to speak, in what we call, "countdown".
"In three days, we are going to the beach."
"In 4 minutes we are going to put our shoes on."
"In 10 minutes we are going to..... (insert trip/ activity/ meal/ anything here)..."
This has become, sort of, an art for us.

But we still struggle with the "anticipation" of things.
Christmas. Birthdays. Vacations. you name it.
Lately we have been talking about his 7th birthday party.  Although he still thinks it's tomorrow.  I have told him that a party takes planning.... and so, I am not ready for it to be tomorrow.
He has asked for a rainbow party.... and I have taken the planning to heart (duh!~ you know me... the crazy party lady).  I have rainbow this, and rainbow that.  Plans for here and things for there.  But it is still all in the works.....

What have we done to curb this behavior/response....
In the past, we have made a "chain".  Where you chain strips of paper and cut one off at the beginning/end of each day.  Which works great~ especially at Christmas ( you can hang the chain on the tree).

we have done the stickers in the box scenario.... where a sticker gets put on the calendar box- counting down the days.
But for this birthday year we have done something different.  I wanted to try and get away from the visual... to see if he could process repeated verbal information. I told him that when we get his birthday shirt ( a rainbow designed shirt- that is hidden in the closet)... his birthday is the next day.  So now, when we get fabric and ribbons for his birthday, party favors.... or anything in the mail..... I can share it with him, and we get excited for his birthday...
but then I remind him  "Is this your birthday shirt???"
ME::"so is your birthday tomorrow?"
ME::"... but it is coming soon."
                   and I reply "nope".

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