My personal progress has been quite a surprise to me lately. I have managed to learn how to deal with my anxiety issues in ways that are more positive. I honestly never thought it was possible. I have been able to identify some of my emotions, not only sooner, but with more clarity as well. It has helped a great deal for me to pour them into writing. I have been writing my feelings, dissecting conversations, and writing down things that other people say to me immediately if the words do not feel right, or confuse me. I have found that by doing this I am able to make it clear in my mind that their emotions and how they respond to me are not my responsibility.
I do my part at being respectful and try to gain clarification.
Since I started writing it down or stating plainly that I do not understand their frustrations or upset with me, I have been calmer, able to articulate what I need to, and I have not been burdened with unnecessary guilt. I still have my moments, but they do not send me into depressive spirals, fears, shame, guilt, or cause me to carry the emotional burdens of everyone in the world. My brain is finding its calm much sooner and I find myself more accepting of myself. I am happy about this progress.
I am also SO excited and happy about the timer we have been using!
I wrote on Thursday that I was going to try the new timer. I had not thought of it because in the past the timer thing turned into a negative. However, the timers that I used were too distracting and caused ”unpredictable sound” anxiety. Even if Daniel knows what kind of sound something makes, such as the dryer buzzer, other timers, or the oven timer he is full of anxiety until it goes off.
He will ask all sorts of questions.
Many that sound like this, “When is it going to go off? What will it sound like? Why does it sound that way? Why does it have to make a sound? Why is it ticking? How long is 10 minutes?” Then, he will ask several questions after it does go off with always adding, “Mom can you not do that?” Therefore, I had no hope in ever using a timer. However, there seems to be one that works!
It is the Learning Resources Time Tracker Mini.
This one is working because you can control the sound. Daniel likes the lights and he likes that we can place it on a time limit warning, that blinks yellow. He is able to predict a little better how much time he has left. I am allowing him to be in control of the timer. He has set the times for his lessons. He sets each lesson for ten minutes and what he has learned is that ten minutes is not enough. Amazingly, he has decided each time to add additional ten minutes when he has not completed his lesson.
He completed all of his lessons Thursday and Friday.
He asked for his timer and requested it to do his lessons. I have been able to do Ariel and Daniel’s core lessons together, which has not gone smoothly at all since we started. I was able to leave Ariel and Daniel to complete several of their lessons while working with Joshua individually on some of his. It has been fantastic! Daniel and Ariel both reviewed spelling words, and went over some of their curriculum on Friday with their teacher. I spoke to her about their individualized plans as well.
All of us were on the phone for quite awhile.
I was also on the phone setting up Daniel’s evaluations for his IEP. I need to add here that it is very distracting and can be upsetting to Daniel if I am on the phone at times. It was amazing that with everything going on and all that he accomplished on Thursday then, talking on the phone with his teacher, he was still ready and happy to do school. He read an entire page of his story for a language arts assessment that was recorded. He has refused to try to read most of the time, but has been completely unbudging when I have asked him to try to read and record himself.
I was shocked that he actually did it.
He also attempted to copy three sentences from his writing lesson on his own. I told him he had to do his writing lesson; he set his timer, and said, “Ok, now I will do my writing lesson.” He was a little upset when he ran out of room, but I explained to him that happens to me all the time and to other people too. I told him it was ok, still he almost quit. I said, “Daniel you still have this page to finish. Will you come finish it?” He was reluctant, but asked for a shower after school so I said he could have a ten-minute shower after he completed all of his lessons.
He agreed, reset his timer, and completed it along with the rest of his lessons too.
Showers or baths have been a huge issue. He normally wants to takes showers or baths for hours upon hours. It has caused meltdowns in the past. He has NEVER agreed to get out within 10 minutes. Not only did he agree, but also he did it. He has continued to do it every day. Yay! He asks to get his timer, he sets it, turns the shower on himself, and gets out on his own. I normally have to turn on the shower, turn off the shower, get him out, dry him off, etc…
Ariel and Joshua were not feeling overwhelmed the last several days.
They were happy to have so much of my attention individually. I really hope this continues to work. Daniel is quite fickle. This is working magically today, but who knows what will happen by Monday. I want to stay hopeful and I will. I will also be prepared if it does not work at some point. At least, we had two wonderful fun packed school days full of amazing progress! He has been telling me that he is happy to do school now because he has his timer. He also informed me that he is a big boy who can do many things on his own. Such as, “Get my timer and set it. Put on my own clothes. Do my school work.” All of this is awesome, but there is more! (For tomorrow.) We also went to kids church last night, but we had a nice people/school free day today.
He is still doing well and has not become overloaded, I hope he is still enthused tomorrow.