Copyright © 2015 Stephen Hawley, all rights reserved.
Boo-boos and owies are a fact of life, even at my age. When you are cognitively delayed, getting injured can be challenging. Yesterday, Alice caught her finger in the car door. I get this. Around about the same age, I did the same thing on the way to a band concert. I had the added ingredient that the mom who was driving the carpool started to drive away while my finger was pinned in the door and as I pounded on the window with the other hand to get her attention.
It took about a half hour to calm Alice down. She was angry and was lashing out at everyone around her. I got told to get lost several times. Once I was able to calm her down, I addressed the band-aid situation. I tried the parent trick of a false dichotomy: “do want a princess band-aid or a Hello Kitty band-aid?” “I don’t want any band aid!” Oh well, it lasted 12 years – that’s a pretty good run for a manipulation technique. I tried the “let’s try to make this your idea.” trick where I explain the consequences of not doing what’s best and ask her what we could do to avoid that. No dice. Finally I did the “you need to do A or you can’t do B”, which I like to avoid. In this case, it was “you need to wear a band-aid or you can’t go to modern dance.” That worked. Phew.
To her credit, once she was in dance class, she did a great job and seemed to have forgotten the insult to her body that had happened not so long ago.
This is the same process that you would do with any kid, but in Alice’s case, it takes a lot longer and you have to give her several free passes on the yelling with repeated, very calm “I know it hurts, but I don’t like being yelled at.” messages.
On the plus side, yelling is a great way to build breath control. Just saying.