Failure doesn’t mean not doing it right, it means not even trying.
I read this today, it was #4 on a list of 5 Things I Wish Someone Had Told Met About Autism through autismspeaks.org. The rest of the article is great and I have it printed as a reminder for myself when the tough gets tougher.
This statement, however true, is a challenge. My days working with Jackson can be rewarding, but are more challenging than not as I try to engage with him to do his work (which is occupational & speech therapy rolled into one) and teach him that he needs to listen and follow through in order to receive what he prefers to do, which is usually screen time. He has to be taught that just because he doesn’t want to do his work or follow through with what has been given to him that he can just get out of what is expected of him, life doesn’t work that way.
It is so very hard to work with him when he doesn’t want to participate or is uncooperative, the minor scars and bruises are proof of the dirty side of autism. I understand that he is upset and wants out of the situation, and this is his way of communicating because he has no way to verbalize his anger. Yes, Lance could step in and take over but that may only teach him that he can make a fuss and someone will rescue him from the situation at hand. How is he ever going to learn from that?
Last night, I got so frustrated from the screaming & crying, pulling & pushing that I finally had to walk away. He won! I went upstairs, put a few things away, shred a few tears as my failure surrounded me in what feels like a never-ending-battle, picked up some more, dried my eyes and finally went back downstairs. By this time Jackson had relaxed and was calming looking at his books but I had come back when a vengeance and we were going to finish this work session on my terms! After getting him back to the table and in his chair, we finished the session with only a few minor mishaps aka puzzle pieces being thrown across the living room while I stayed the course and Lance rounded up flung puzzle pieces. We finished a PUZZLE!
He was perfectly content after that…well almost. Since he hadn’t completed his work in an acceptable manner, screen time was a bust. He was told repeatedly no when he asked for it and here’s the funny thing, he adjusted to it just fine. So there is hope on the horizon, it just takes time, it always does with Jackson.
So with all this said, I felt like a failure yesterday, a BIG one in fact but as my husband pointed out then and as this article does today, at least I’m trying AND I’ll never give up doing what’s best for Jackson. There will always be trying times, times I think we won’t be able to get through, but we will. Now I just have to remember this for when I feel like a failure next time…oh my!
**Side note, Lance worked with Jackson tonight, as I was sick, and had patience of the Dalai Lama. Lance’s work sessions focus on using screen time to encourage and increase verbalization with Jackson. Tonight though, he pushed Jackson into doing both physical and verbal tasks as Jackson had to work on a puzzle in order to get his screen time. It was a brilliant idea and after about 15 minutes of Jackson fussing, he got one piece in and figured out he just had to do one puzzle piece at a time in order to receive his screen time between each piece. They too completed a puzzle!