Fishing

Ethan's had a couple of rough days at school over the last two weeks.  We've seen some behaviors that were common last year, but that we hadn't seen at all this year.  There are some new people on Ethan's IEP team who haven't seen these behaviors from him. That's got me thinking about how to explain some of the strategies that work best with him when he's struggling.

It occurs to me that working with Ethan is a lot like reeling in a fish.  If you pull the line and tell him "No," he'll just fight harder.  Often times, you need to let him run some, then try to redirect him.  Run and redirect him.  Hopefully, he will become interested in the thing you're directing him towards or forget why he was fighting.

That often means letting Ethan get farther away from the adult's goal then we think we can.  Sometimes, that's letting Ethan walk out of the classroom.  Sometimes, it's giving him another five minutes beyond your 'final deadline' to transition to the next activity.  It almost always means giving Ethan the physical, emotional and verbal space that he needs instead of giving him something to push back against.

It is truly an exercise in being present and patient and working to understand and support Ethan's needs and not our needs for him.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got to go trim my bonsai tree.

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