Monday, September 16, 2013

The Art of Manipulation

I don't know about you, but I was taught growing up that manipulation is bad.  And now, I practice it daily with my son and treat it like a gift.
If you are a parent or caregiver of an autistic child, you can sympathize with the fact that every little daily task is a fight.  Waking them up.  Getting them dressed.  Brushing teeth.  Eating.  Bathing.  Going out the door.  And these are the easy parts of the day.  Try saying no to something or introducing something new.  That's WWII.  Now, having to go through all of the above every single day will force you to grow some skills.  One of which is manipulation:

My son is very visual.  He has difficulty understanding language when spoken to, but I came to realize early on, that if I translate things into pictures and simple words and instructions, it will sink in better.  That would be consistent with autism.  Everything concrete is understandable.  He also loves telling time and checking the clock and timing things.  If I ask him to brush, or take a shower, or eat his dinner, etc. forget it!  I'm not sure why, but I think it may be partly because he wants to have control over his schedule.  So... I created a daily schedule with 4 choices in each hour (choices basically repeat every hour) to manipulate him into thinking he controls his schedule.  There are times (4:10-5:10 for example) and he circles what he wants to do that hour.  I have a digital clock and timer... all of which he likes.  It was my way of getting him to get tasks done... all along thinking he's free doing what he wants!  And it worked.

He loves the timer.  It has a globe on top of it and it changes colors... final color (red) indicating time's almost up.  It's work, but beats the struggles I had before which only resulted in frustrations for both of us.

No comments:

Post a Comment