Okay I am really hoping that I am not the only one who has those days where we just forget exactly how concrete individuals with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) are. Recently all of my children had strep throat and joy oh joy so did I. So of course we got to have antibiotics for all of us. Since in our area there was such a rash of sickness there was a shortage of meds and so all of my kids got to have the joy of getting the liquid form! Oh this can be wonderful to kids it is hard to get to take medications anyway. So after fighting for over half an hour to get my 13 year old to take his he finally decided he would. He did say that as his throat really hurt he was willing to swallow it to get his throat to feel better. He took the meds and we managed to keep them in him and not have him spray the stuff all over. He waited about 3 minutes only to inform me I was a giant liar as I had promised that the taking of said pukey medication would make his throat feel better. It was a thursday and so I explained that the medication would help but really he would not feel better until Sunday. He said then he would take his next dose on Sunday and not before. No matter how much I tried to explain that he had to take all his doses for them to work he was absolutely not okay with taking it if it wouldn’t work until then. Why take it any other day but the day that it would work?? Why indeed?
When doodle was little he was at physical therapy at a pool. His therapist had told him not to THROW any of the new toys into the pool until she came back. She then went to change her clothing into her swim suit. Doodle sat himself down at the edge of the pool and very studiously and carefully placed each toy into the pool. I watched him as it was quite something to see how carefully he was putting them in. When the therapist came out and began really getting upset with him that the toys were in the pool I quickly said to her that he did not throw a single toy in the pool. He was very careful in putting them in. She sat there for a second and then started laughing. She realized that she had not given him a good message at all. He had absolutely listened to what she had said but she thought he hadn’t.
So how many times when our children are in trouble because we feel they are just not listening are we actually not looking at what is going on??? Is our message truly clear to them? If we sat back and thought on what we were asking or saying are they getting a good message? I recently talked to a dear friend whose son ended up getting asked to stay home his last week of school. Why? Well he went on a school outing in the last week and the teacher stated that the children would probably get wet but it is okay. So a child dared this child to jump into the creek and so this child did and jumped right into the water. He felt as the teacher had already said they would get wet and it was OKAY that there was no reason not to just jump right in. So next thing he knows he is in major trouble and being yelled at. He has no clue what is going on. He has been told that he will get wet and so he did. So who is wrong in this situation? Is the child who was told he would get wet and did or is it the teacher who expected the child to behave in a different manner?
I know that often I will get upset and think what in the world is going on? Then I look at what is going on and what was said and think OOOPS! Often I have messed up and have worded my expectations wrong or at least not very concretely or clearly. Sometimes stepping back and looking at the situation can be very enlightening to us but so often we are so overwhelmed by the behaviors we forget to even look at the whole picture. I know that sometimes it is much later before I even am able to think of what has taken place. Now I am in no way saying that all behavior is because of unclear messages. That is not the case but sometimes oh boy sometimes it can be. It doesn’t hurt to look at things sometimes and see if it helps at all. It just might.