Expecting Too Much?

This article, entitled "Expecting Too Much?," comes from Cathy at bountifulplate.

Dominic's teacher (Mr. P) and I have spent this week trying to determine the cause of some of Dominic's recent avoidance behaviors. I was beginning to feel like Sherlock Holmes trying to solve a big mystery.

I was wondering if it had something to do with Ritalin, so I asked Mr. P to track his behavior and see if there was any correlation. There really didn't seem to be.

When you have a special needs child, they are constantly a "work in progress." All children kind of are, aren't they? Do we ever reach a point with our kids when we say, "okay, I'm done!" Not really :)

We've certainly had our ups and downs with the potty training, but Dominic seems to be doing awesome in that area recently, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed! It's good to push Dominic, but at the same time I was wondering if maybe we were expecting too much from him. Mr. P and I exchanged e-mails and had some conversations on the phone. One of my questions was if any new things had been added or changed in his routine. This is what he told me:

  • having him participate in longer peer-to-peer sessions
  • not allowing him to use items non-functionally during choice time (ex. if he gets out the Legos he would stack two or three on top of one another and let them fall for the entire time. I do not allow him to do this, rather, we work on using the toy for their true purposes)
  • increasing the amount of participation I ask of him during group activities (such as answering more questions about our topic, remaining seated longer to complete more assignments)
  • extending the amount of time we are at work centers
  • have him sit on the toilet to try a BM during bathroom trips
  • increasing time he spends in 4th grade class

Wow, that's quite a list, isn't it? After I saw this, it really got me to thinking that he was probably feeling overwhelmed. It's not like Dominic can say, "hey, it's too much, I'm really overwhelmed!" We still rely heavily on how he acts.

When he is under or overwhelmed a telling sign is that he starts talking to himself more and will get more isolated from us. Mr. P suggested that too much was being expected of him in a smaller amount of time and that possibly spreading the changes out over a longer amount of time might be the answer.

The hubby and I discussed it over the weekend and I called Mr. P on Monday. I told him that even though we are Dominic's parents, he is the teacher and we will defer to his judgment. This week, the notes home from Mr. P were, "more cooperative, awesome day, did not engage in avoidance behaviors." I asked Mr. P if he thought the mystery was solved. He told me that it's too soon to tell and we need to keep expecting great things, but at the same time not push too hard.

One area that Dominic has been doing awesome in has been his reading. I will continue to push a bit in that area, because we are all big readers in this house! I got out some of the Mr. Putter and Tabby books from our library and he LOVES them. He especially liked the word "trifle" that was in the book.

To read more from Cathy, visit bountifulplate.blogspot.com



About the Author...
Cathy B
Cathy is a homemaker, wife and mother to a son with special needs, an adult daughter and stepmom to an adult son.
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