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                            One Mom's Tips

I thought I might share some things I've learned along the way in dealing with different things.

The most important thing that anyone's ever told me is this "Trust your instincts, you know 
your child better than anyone." Important lesson to always remember regarding that statement 
you have the most vested interest in your child regardless of what any Dr., school, or other 
person tells you.

The most effective way to deal with unwanted behaviors is to find out what is causing the 
behavior in the first place. I'm not saying excuse all bad behavior. But there is usually a 
reason that they happen to begin with. Two key things I've found with my child that lead 
to problem behaviors:

#1 Frustration--when my child has a problem communicating his feelings or feels he's not 
being understood. (sometimes this may include facial expressions; this happened to me he 
thought I was mad and I was only in deep thought)

#2 Sensory Overload--for my child this is usually when there is too much noise for a given 
length of time or a big change of schedule. sensory issues for some include light, touch, 
sound, smell, etc)

How do we deal with this? First we identify what the problem is. We use a step by step 
plan to help B. learn how to deal with the situation in a more effective way. We practice 
until he learns each step until finally he knows exactly what to do. You don't have to be 
a psychologist or a rocket scientist to do this. Use whatever your child understands best. 
It may mean play acting out such & such situation and walking them through it, using 
puppets or writing a storybook using real or drawn pictures. But the main idea is that you 
want for your child to have a plan that works for him instead of being on the defense 
constantly. (Oh I know I said two but thought of one more.) Be sure to take the time to 
listen to your child every day. You'd be surprised at what they will tell you or show you. 
Can you just imagine never being heard completely?

This is one area that can be kind of sticky. Maybe you've been really lucky with this and 
maybe not. I've learned a lot of work arounds for this that have been helpful for my child. 
It's called dealing with obsessions.

When my son's chief obsession was dinosaurs, I found you could use them to teach just 
about anything you ever dreamed of. Use your imagination it doesn't take much. We used 
dinosaurs to do math, science, reading, english, health and every other thing you could think of.

Math: 8 dinosaurs + 2 dinosaurs = ? (addition) 
          The brontosaurus eats lunch at ? time. (telling time)

English: Learn the parts of speech using dinosaur sentences. 
              Diagram dinosaur sentences.

Reading: Read dinosaur books and ask questions 
                  or let your child tell you about the book.

Health: What kind of foods do they dinosaurs eat to stay healthy?

Then try expanding on these and you may be surprised at how quickly  they become 
interested in learning about other things. One of those little volcanoes filled with dinosaurs 
was a great reward for helping and yet another valuable learning tool.    We used the 
dinosaurs to do math and then expanded later to learn about volcanoes. We made our 
own volcano for science and later went on to weather. With weather came yet another 
math lesson you could measure rain and then go on to how to measure in the kitchen. 
I could go on all day so I'll stop cause I'm sure you have the idea. One book I'd highly 
recommend for fun science is "The Backyard Scientist" series.

When the obsession becomes a 24hr/7 day a week discussion

One thing that was kind of hard for a while was listening to technical details about the 
air force 22--24 hrs. a day. Now I like to think that I'm a pretty good listener but gosh 
sometimes enough is too much. When I started listening to this it was just a little while 
each day but gradually it got to the point where I was being followed, even to the bathroom 
with the air force. (How many people could actually stand someone standing outside the 
bathroom door while someone told them all the technical specifications of an F4 or an A2?) 
I had tried very unsuccessfully to interest him in other subjects. 
Finally I explained to him that I was enjoying this but it was just too much of it. I told him that 
after our chores were finished that at this certain time every day I would give him one hour to 
talk about the air force. These were the rules we set an alarm clock and I had to listen only 
and wasn't allowed to talk. Gradually he needed only 30 min's to talk about this subject.
 The  ultimate lesson  he learned  was that it's  really not any fun to carry on a one way 
conversation. This last one surprised even me because truthfully I would have done it as
long as he needed me too.

While I've said the above I hope it won't be misconstrued and the reader think that I have 
tried to extinguish my child's interest. He still loves airplanes. Every one of us I'm sure has 
certain things that we are more interested in.

Someone wrote and asked me how we used airplanes and the air force obsessions for 
learning. So here goes! You can do all the same things as I wrote about in dinosaurs plus:

They're great for fine motor skills. We used a book we found at the library and designed top 
of the line paper airplanes. The fine motor skills it took to make these were cutting, pasting, 
and folding. Then we involved math when we made geometric patterns and even used a 
compass for some. Measuring was another math skill. Later we added designs colored with 
markers and colored pencils. The paper airplanes helped with socialization too believe it or not. 
He made all the kids on the block great airplanes and they had a great time seeing who could 
do the best stunts and fly the highest & the longest.

They were also great for geography, history and science. These three were easily linked 
together to study WWI & WWII and the history of the air force and eventually airplane history.
My son has developed many other interests but I'm sure that airplanes will always be with us.


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