Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Parenting a Developemental Delay

Little Man has a "Developmental Delay".  This label can stick with him till he is 9 and it lands him an IEP.  This is awesome because it means if he goes home he will still receive services from the school district he is in. 

Little Man's biggest struggle is how he relates socially.  Social pressure can completely shut him down.  He will use aggressive ways to get people attention (taking a toy away, hitting, running into you, etc).  However, we think he is an extrovert.  (Shocker, right?).  He strongly desires to be around others, he just doesn't know how to communicate or build relationships with them.

This turns into an everyday struggle that I am unsure on how to handle still.   It's a fine line to walk and I feel like I'm not succeeding on either side of it.

As I said, he uses aggression to communicate.  So Addilece and Big Brother are building a block tower, then taking a ball to knock it down.  Little Man thinks, "hey that looks cool".  However, instead of asking if he can have a turn he just runs up and knocks it down.  When the older two communicate to him that this was not ok he knocks it down again, and again, and again.  After about two minutes I realize he just can't do it so I intervene. 

Little Man and I have a discussion about respect and talking it out.  He heads over to the older two and to my heart's delight says, "I play too?  Please?"  However, by this time Big Brother is annoyed and says no.  Again, momma intervenes and explains that he communicated well he needs to be allowed to participate.  Big Brother lets him join in, Little Man is thrilled.

The problem....Little Man still doesn't understand the rules of engagement and has no comprehension of taking turns.  Soon we are back to Big Brother yelling and Little Man knocking down every block he puts up.  This time I ask Little Man to play somewhere else.

The problem....Little Man is an extrovert.  He wants to play and won't take no for an answer.  So over the next 10 minutes I break up the fights and try to redirect as Little Man runs the scooter into the block tower, steals the ball they are throwing at the tower, and lays right by it to knock it over with his hand.

So what do I do?  I want my other three to learn that their brother struggles with this and how to adequately communicate with him.  However, I also need Little Man to learn respect and the ability to listen to words.  And I don't have time to spend the entire summer mediating their play (and if I chose to do that, I really would accomplish NOTHING else).  When he heads back to school in the fall his play won't be mediated, so we need to work on it.

The point of this story.....I'm not sure there is one, expect I'm tired.  (ha, ha).  One of these days I'm going to write a post about how Little Man has completely changed me, grabbed my heart, and shown me God's heart.  For now, I'm tired and not sure how to navigate these waters.

I would love to hear from you?  Are you a teacher or a parent of special needs with a suggestion of how to teach on both sides of this?  What are some good resources to help us navigate?  

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