You do! Well… at least that allegorical New Year one.
Out with the old, in with the new. Father Time just waved us good-bye; an old man with a long beard, hunched over in a long robe. And now we’re greeting the New Year; a smiling baby happily tucked into a fresh nappy.
A fresh start, yes?
But what if your family can’t see that fresh start? It seems impossible because your child has a very serious diagnosis, maybe Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, Oppositional Defiance Disorder or Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you have a child with a label, you know what I’m talking about. Life will be a certain way for them, and as a result, for you and your entire family, regardless of how many “new years” pass.
But what if that diagnosis is simply a perspective? Something that, in a different light, offers an alternative way of living.
Today I’m offering you one such story. It’s one of my favorites and (shhh) … it’s true.
When I started my business in March, 2011 it was to provide Family Dynamics Speech Therapy; a service which truly caters to children by treating them in their home in a playful manner that feels nothing like traditional therapy. One of my favorite first clients was a little girl who I’ll call Hannah – four years old, with a genetic disorder that caused speech delay, social skill delay and auditory processing delay. Her parents were fabulous. They took her to see high-class medical specialists renowned for chromosomal abnormalities and followed through with every single recommendation they were given.
Knowing I am a home and play-based specialist, they hired me for an initial consultation and decided to have me work side-by-side with them to improve Hannah’s skills. It was amazing what happened! Using my perspective of every child being naturally creative, resourceful and complete, we tried new techniques to get her talking.
Instead of rigid therapy plans we joined Hannah in play she already enjoyed, like her doll house. Rather than getting her to listen by taking her face in our hands and commanding eye contact, we simplified environmental distractions by turning off the TV and ridding each room of clutter. As an alternative to trying to control her attention by sitting face-to-face at a child-sized table we acted silly and played with her like any other child, and her attention never wandered.
As a result of this natural and holistic approach to speech therapy Hannah went from needing a completely silent room and direct eye contact in order to answer “What’s your name?” to speaking in 10 word sentences, laughing giddily at her own four-year-old jokes, and making friends in her Montessori preschool. Does this sound typical? Maybe so. But all the high-class medical specialists said this wasn’t “typical” for Hannah. They told her parents that Hannah would always be significantly delayed. Never have regular conversations. Never make friends. Never be able to follow directions. In fact, her parents were told that Hannah would always need them to advocate for her and that she would only start to really “get” things in her middle-school years.
So how can such a dramatic shift, from working together only once or twice a month, occur? Shifting perspectives. When we believe we’re doomed to being overweight our entire lives because everyone in our family is, what do we choose to eat? Potato chips and pizza. Why not? When we believe we have the potential to be slim and healthy because we saw our friend shed 40 pounds, what do we choose to eat? Whatever she’s eating!
So how is your current perspective defining your family?
- A limited future?
- Hyper-active and aggressive?
- Sibling animosity and disrespectful?
- Emotional manipulation and outbursts?
- Academic failure?
Stop living there. Consider applying this new perspective to your family: all delays and behaviors are communication. And you have the power to “hear” that message and discover ways to address it.
What if your son’s “wild” behavior is actually a physical request for more calming, proprioceptive input?
What if your daughter’s clingy, never let you out of my sight, behavior is overwhelming emotions?
And there’s so many more ways our children communicate through behavior. One of our favorite books on how brain wiring affects children’s behavior is the Out of Sync Child by Carol Kranowitz. Want something tailored to your family? Call/email us today to schedule your private parenting consultation at 651-705-6665 / Relief@mad2glad.com and we’ll guide you through this puzzling process.
So let old Father Time take his hike and turn your gaze toward that smiling baby, because we all deserve the opportunities a fresh start brings.