This particular topic is the hardest for me to write about as I am still dealing with the community or as I say to Elizabeth “public”. I think once you exit your door you enter “public” and with it you enter a place where your child may act differently than other children and where they may garner more attention than others andwhere you may be more on edge. I talk about not being too hard on yourself the last time I talked about being in a public place but we all know that is a much easier said than done statement. I find myself having mini-pep talks with myself often. Telling myself that the salelady, who just treated Elizabeth like she a little child, just did it to be nice. Or that next time it happens I will tell the saleslady to talk to her as you do anyone else. I have these mini-pep talks with myself because “public” is always going to be there and it is someplace you NEED to be in. ( unless you order all your groceries on line…just a joke here) but seriously, find some kind words to say to yourself when you are nervous, find some kind words you feel comfortable saying to people who may look or treat your child differently than you would like and tuck them away to dip into if you need them. It helps you be prepared for “public” and allows you to enjoy the successes of even being there in the first place.
I have to think that even though I have been at this some 14 years, I still will plan out my trips and I will always talk to Elizabeth about where we are going and what we are doing. Only now she will tell me how she will behave and why she needs to be proper in public. I began talking about how to act in public many years ago with Elizabeth. Because of her SPD and dyspraxia it was of course harder to achieve this goal but I knew to break the information down into manageable bits and I would review them often. Then as she got older and more verbal I adjust how much we talked about. I have to say that I am glad I started talking to her at 2 because like out one therapist Maureen said” you don’t want to be looking at her at 16 and trying then to break these habits”. The early work has paid off, not to say all the work is done because it isn’t but I will say that it is much easier to add to a solid foundation that has been established.
I love Eizabeth’s spirit, and her love of life, I never want to squelch that so I will simply say that to help me judge what to do and not do with and for Elizabeth in public, I need to ask myself, what would I have wanted to decide for myself as a 15 year old or what would I have not wanted someone to remind me of in public at 15. What worked at the beginning of this marathon needs to be adjusted for age and growth. My thinking and adjusting continues to get fine tuned. I offer to all that each age of course brings changes but with special needs child, those changes require some serious backstage thinking and planning. I want to help Elizabeth as she grows but I want to do it in the best way for her. It is not easy to know what to do but at least if my eyes are open to the fact that things will need adjusting.
This journey we are all on commands our attention so much of the day. Our children grow and change and as such our goals and plans for them will need adjusted. I offer out some thoughts here today, hope they might be the ones you needed today.