When Head Start started nagging us about finishing our enrollment paperwork, we got really anxious. The form for the doctor I could send in easily. It was the blue form that made me worry. The blue form was for the dentist.
Though four and a half and with one minor tooth injury, Simon had never been to the dentist. He balked at the doctor’s office, requiring cajoling, bribing, and major distracting to get him through a basic check up. He has spit on us, thrown his toothbrush at us, slapped, head-butted, and kicked us on occasions we’ve tried to brush his teeth or show him how to do it himself. And now we had to take him to the dentist, where he would have to lay back in a vestibularly uncomfortable way, have bright lights pointed at him, and loud, hard things shoved in his mouth. We hoped to get out of there without any one being bitten.
I made him a social story, and we got ready to break the news to him. Simon wept. And whined. And begged me not to “let” him go to the dentist. He threw his story. I left the story where he could get it and didn’t mention the D word again. As he remembered it, he would cry and whine all over again. Simon kept asking when he was going, so I wrote it on the calendar. April 9th, dentist. …continue reading
I posted earlier about social stories and how they help with trying something new. They are also helpful with transitions. Almost everyone has some extra anxiety or energy about transitioning from one state to the next. Getting up in the morning and going from bed at home to the bus to school and learning how to brush your teeth can be seen as transitions, from place to place and dependence to independence.
The trick once you have prepared your child for a transition with a calendar or social story is to prepare the adults involved. When transitioning SensiGirl from preschool to kindergarten, I helped arrange the appropriate placement for her and then it was time to prepare her new teacher for her. I wrote the Getting to Know letters to her new teacher, I also e-mailed and called ahead of time to talk with her.
When transitioning myself from home with the kids to an evening meeting, Grandma and Grandpa are prepared and are sure to know how to keep SensiGirl occupied or to distract her until I get home.
How well we adapt to transitions has to do with temperament. I am a slow to transition person. When someone suggests something new, I usually say no right away. I then think about it and if I like the idea after weighing it, I will agree to the plan. I think that kids who have trouble with transitions are a bit like me, it is hard to say yes and be open to change right away without thinking on it and envisioning what will happen. …continue reading