Preparing for Thanksgiving Part 2
This is the second installment from our parent contributor Beth Lattime. If you haven’t already read it, be sure to check out part 1 here.
Don’t give your family and friends credit for understanding your child
Every child with a special need or disability comes with their own arsenal of strengths and weaknesses. As a parent, you learn quickly what your child likes and doesn’t like. Some of these things may be very odd but can bring peace to your child. My son, Ethan, loves textures of Tupperware lids, baggies, and lots of other miscellaneous things that are perplexing to spectators. I have learned to simply tell my family and friends about these desires that he has. Taking bags and filling them with toys that are more appropriate for Ethan has been my biggest go to strategy. I have given him opportunities to play with Tupperware lids while he is doing more appropriate things such as sitting and eating. In fact, I have played with the bags and lids myself to help him fit in. I have experienced the crazy looks from family members who are trying not to attend to the oddities. Everyone means well but are curious by Ethan’s differences nonetheless.
Ask yourself this, would Grandma Betty be appalled if you handed her a bag filled with feathers to play with at the Thanksgiving feast? What does your child like to do? Would Uncle Joe be ok if you turned on some music to calm your child’s sensory processing needs? Come up with a plan. Include your family and friends in that plan. Explain why it is helpful. See what they say. Does this always work for every situation? Nope. If you don’t make an attempt to share your child’s needs with your family and friends at social gatherings, they can’t make things easier for your child and your immediate family members. Remember. Be honest. Communicate.
*Beth Lattime, M. Ed. is a developmental specialist and intervention specialist. Her professional experiences span over classroom, clinical, home-based, and recreational environments. She can now proudly add her own natural environments to her list of experiences. Ethan was diagnosed with Infantile Spasms in 2012 which is a rare type of epilepsy and had a former diagnosis of dysphasia. He is currently undergoing intensive therapies at LLA for apraxia and deficits in the arenas of physical and occupational therapy as well. For more on Beth’s story, visit www.lattimeinterventionservices.com/