In my club of mums and dads of Auties, we speak mostly in terms of addressing deficits.
We say they are 18 month level on receptive language , at a 12 month level for expressive language, 24 months for Gross motor and 33 months for fine motor.
As they grow up, we think about their social skills level and executive functioning level
And all the while we are thinking of the difference between those levels and the level they are supposed to be
We think of the all the things ( and, gosh, they are so many things ) we need to do address these differences
And we are filled with despair
I believe that there is a better mental model
The mental model goes like this
We think of our child as perfect.
We think of the world as difficult
We think of the therapy etc as what the perfect child needs in order to thrive in the difficult world
We stop thinking in terms of addressing deficits
So in effect, we think of their special needs in terms of the special needs of other precious things, for example, a cashmere scarf
Yes, it would completely wither away with “mainstream” detergent.
Yes, it snags easily and so yes, we must be careful while out and about with it
But that is because the child – like the precious scarf - is delicate and different
A shift in the way we think, has a profound impact on everything
I quote Shakespeare in Hamlet "Nothing is good or bad.. its our thinking that makes it so"
Thinking of your child as whole, as beautiful is deeply healing for the family and for the child
No no no - don’t quote me “Life in Beirut” or tell me one could never think like this
I am telling you, that one can think this way
One can be fully aware of all the diagnosis one’s child has.
And still think that that child is the biggest, most amazing gift they could ever have dreamed of
How do I know this way of thinking is possible ?
I know its possible
Because its what I do.
“We are perishing for a lack of wonder .. not for a lack of wonders “
K is the mother of a charming 5 year old and blogs at Floortime Lite Mama