The last couple of weeks have been very exciting for us! Ever since we started working with the new behavioural and occupational therapists, the change in K has been amazing! They both gave us strategies to use at home to not only improve his behaviour, but also for him to do more for himself. So hubby and I started putting the strategies in motion.
K has known how to undress himself for a while, it was teaching him to put the clothes on that I thought would be hard. I would be the one to get him dressed every morning and he would just lie there and let me. So I started on a weekend so I wouldn’t have to rush getting him ready for school. I started with his socks first. I gave him one and without me saying a word he put it on his foot! I gave him the other one. Same thing! I gave him his pants and he tried to put them on his head. I said “No K pants go on your legs”. I put the pants on him, stood him up and told him to pull up his pants. He did! He couldn’t get it over his diaper, so I helped him. I handed him his shirt and he took it and went to put it on his head. He knew! He tried to put his head through the sleeve and got very upset when he couldn’t. I laughed, I couldn’t help it, and that just upset him more. I put his head through the collar and he put his arms through the sleeves. I gave him a huge hug and praised him so much!
He still likes hanging out in his diaper, but I leave his clothes out for him to put on. There’s only one problem. Sometimes he will grab his brother’s underwear out of the clean laundry hamper and try to put that on his head!
This past week I was told by his teachers that he had walked from the classroom to the sensory room without using his wheelchair! Twice! They also told him to get washed up for lunch and he went to the sink and turned on the water by himself! Usually he waits for the staff to do it (or Mom and Dad at home). On one hand I was so proud but on the other hand I wondered why he couldn’t do that at home? I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t at strict as I should be.
That may not seem much to some people, after all he IS 17, right? But when you wait so long for your child to do something that seems so simple, it is a huge moment for you! At the same time it makes me want to kick myself in the butt for not working so hard with him sooner. But as I was told, and as I tell many other parents of children with Down Syndrome and/or Autism, they will do it in THEIR time, not yours. So don’t get discouraged. It may take a long time, but it will happen. I just know that when he is in permanent care, with strict structure, the possibilities are endless!