For Families

Let’s relate with *Stephen

November 24, 2020

Becca (*Stephen)

How does your child see, feel and experience the world?

When I asked *Stephen about the trees that we saw on our walk, he said it’s green. With the flowers, he said it’s red. He also said that he dislikes rain and it makes him, sad but he likes sunny days with bright blue skies – it makes him happy. 

When he saw pictures of dirty clothes, he said it’s dirty and it needs to be wiped. When he has something on his socks or clothes he instantly places it in the laundry basket and has it immediately washed.

When we listened to music, he said he is happy and when I did not set any timer or show him the time, he would come and ask me for the time every activity. He is very literal in expressing his thoughts about the world. Everything has their own place and structure for him (such as schedule or time). 

What experiences helped you relate to how your kid sees the world?

  1. Spending time to explore new things with *Stephen is really helpful, for example, we tried to do different kinds of activities like cooking, washing clothes, gardening and others. It allows me to get to know him better.
  2. When *Stephen is having a hard time, I like to note down the setting of the situation or possible causes. That way, I can speak to him later about these situations and find coping skills together with him.  For example, *Stephen tends to get cranky, when the weather is gloomy, so after it happened several times, I asked him how he is feeling when it is raining and spend time to discuss about the rain.  We also found ways to do fun activities when it rains, rather than “forcing” him to like things he does not or that doesn’t interest him. 
  3. We also like to watch or read a story together. While we’re watching the video, I like to ask *Stephen questions or ask him to tell me his thoughts about the story of the video.

Our therapists have a way to connect with their kids in such a special and transparent way.  They want to get to know the whole child and what makes them happy, sad, frustrated and excited.  As AIMS therapists, we believe that for any relationship to grow in a trusting one there have to be mutual respect for each other’s interests and dislikes.  We don’t force our kids to engage in activities that elicit negative responses (except if it’s a necessary life skill, such as brushing teeth, where we would teach our kids the reason for needing to engage in this). 

We want to challenge each professional to try their best to understand the reason for our kids’ likes and dislikes before they include lessons on teaching activities that our kids might not be motivated to complete.  Teach the reasoning behind needing to learn specific life skills.  Our kids are all motivated to achieve their own potential, we have seen this for many years working with kids (in general and with specific needs).  It is our duty to form not only a “positive rapport”, but a trusting friendship with our kids, before we can expect them to engage in any activities or games – liked or unfamiliar to them. 

Please share your stories with us.  We love to hear how you are able to engage with your children by including and respecting their interests.

Thank you, Becca for sending through your wonderful experience with the child you work with and have formed such a special friendship!

Have a great week everyone!

Karla Pretorius

*Name of child has been changed.