Saturday, August 19, 2006

Anticipating Reactions

I was trying to catch up on some of the blogs I read last night. I can really identify with Tina’s post that everytime someone asks her to go somewhere she has to first think of how K.C. will react. It takes planning for every activity that we have to do with our kids to avoid triggers that cause difficult behavior or meltdowns.

I was thinking about how much I have learned over the years to just anticipate Billy Ray’s reaction to different stimuli and situations. Sometimes it is second nature now and I don’t always think to share it with family and staff.

That’s why we started creating our own little community so others would get to know Billy Ray as a person and understand what he needs to be comfortable. We also became aware rather quickly of the places that we could avoid. As in Tina’s post they had problems in the MacDonald’s drive through. We discovered that there are lots of MacDonald’s and service is not uniform. Sometimes it is better to drive past the closest one if another one has better service – can be easier on everyone’s nerves.

We have learned to adapt in multiple ways. Here is something I shared in Parenting Your Complex Child about grocery store struggles:

“An important part of preparation is your choice of store. For example, if your child is really into a specific item and you know that one store will have that item prominently displayed in so many locations you can’t possibly avoid it, choose a store that has fewer problem areas. A moderate-size store may have fewer problem areas for your child. It might be more expensive, but if your child is less likely to go into a behavior and you are less likely to compromise with him to get him out of the store, it might be cost effective. If your child is small enough, you can pick him up to leave, this might be less of an issue than a teenager who throws himself on the floor because he can’t understand why you won’t buy him everything he wants."

“There may be other arrangements you can make for minimizing problems with shopping. For example, Billy Ray loves to buy fresh french bread that comes in paper bags. Our favorite grocery store has a bakery and will have the bread fresh at 5 P.M. each weekday. A bakery clerk wheels a cart all over the store trying to sell loaves, and there are numerous racks around the store at that time of day. If I take Billy Ray into the store, he is going to grab a loaf off each rack we walk by and from the bakery clerk as well. By the time I try to get it away from him he has handled it too much or it has been damaged so we have to buy it. It does not keep well, and he eats very little of it once it is home. We really do not need five loaves of french bread. Instead of changing stores, I talked to the manager about what time of day the racks are out and modified our shopping times accordingly.” Excerpt used by permission of the publisher from "Parenting Your Complex Child" by Peggy Lou Morgan © 2006 Peggy Lou Morgan, published by AMACOM, division of American Management Association, New York, New York.

Little by little adapting to avoid triggers and stresses in the community does get easier but it takes time.

Until next time,
Peggy Lou Morgan
My Other Blogs: Amazon Connect and Lighthouse Parents
Websites: Parenting Your Complex Child and Lighthouse Parents
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