Something that has been really useful lately is our little mantras. I use one to get Tam’s attention if he is getting a bit disregulated. It goes like this:
Me : What is your name? Tam : Tam Sam Greenwell Me : What's your favourite colour? Tam : Blue Me : What's your favourite food? Tam : Apples Me : What's your favourite thing? Tam : Cuddles and so it goes on...........
It started with a couple of questions and how now expanded to about 25 questions and answers. Now it useful in many ways. The most important of these ways is to get Tam to focus on the questions and answers. I put them out of order and pluck from the questions in a random fashion. However, if Tam is in a bad place I revert back to the order we have built the questions, that seems to work better in those situations.
A secondary part is that if for any reason he is away from me he has learnt to answer some pretty important questions like, name, age, where he lives etc. So life skills and a method to help him calm and focus on communicating rather than just melting down.
Another sort of mantra that we use is a visual diary. Now until recently it was just to cover the now and next’s of each day. We have extended this to show the next few weeks. Again a couple of reasons for this. Firstly, Tam and his pleading and tantrums related to school. The diary starting this week shows 5 days of school out of 15 days. Secondly the repetition of going through the week enforces the countdown to less days at school to go. It is having a small effect on Tam as I still try to use it while he is having a meltdown or in crises.
So the focus at the moment is repetition of our mantras. It does help and I am sure we will add more as we go along.
Alan & Tam