Friday 18 October 2013

No Toileting Hat Trick

And on the third day ... there was an accident.


I'm a little disappointed, despite having tried to prepare myself in advance.  But I still think I handled it well.  Just matter of fact in having to clean it up.  Nathan asked if he still got to get rid of all the rules and I had to tell him no.  He didn't seem too upset about it.

If you're teaching something to a child with autism, this is something you have to be prepared for.  It's not a straightforward accumulation of skills.  It's more like watching the tide come in.  The waves push up on shore and then retreat.  The forward movement is almost imperceptible behind the constant back and forthing.

I try to use little journal notes to remind me of long term progress.  Every six months, I jot down a little point-form sketch of where the boys are and what they're doing.  It's very simple:

- aggression (5-7 hits per day)
- toileting (3 accidents per day)
- food (1 mouthful of rice, spitting back out)

Then I can go back and see the invisible progress.  The next entry might read:

- aggression (3-5 hits per day)
- toileting (3 accidents per day)
- food (2 mouthfuls of rice)

It makes a big difference in my energy levels.  When I feel I'm trapped in an endless cycle with no chance of improvement, it's easy to let things go.  After all, if nothing is ever going to get better, why bother trying to fix it?  But it is getting better.  A glacial pace, perhaps, but still moving in a good direction.

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