Encouraging Independence

As the year is drawing towards its close, and we’re trying to assess where the Monster is with things – especially in light of the possibility that he might be integrated next year (with help) into a ‘normal’ classroom… we’re left with trying to evaluate what more we can do to encourage his independence.

Most of the time, he is fairly independent.  He can use a regular cup (though with us, he prefers not to), and he’s shown that he can use a fork and spoon just fine at the table most of the time.  I might not be prepared to let him have milk in his cereal, were he to show willingness to do it, or to give him soup, but he’s mostly handling things himself on that regard.

There are, though, the other skills that we’ve not quite worked up to yet, and we need to start considering those as we move forward.

Some food has been hard.  He’s very picky when it comes to eating, and some of his food has to be just so for him to decide that he’s going to eat it.  Still, when it comes to something like a banana that just requires peeling, we’re still working up to getting him to handle it himself, rather than bringing it over to us to finish peeling when he’s gotten as far as he can.

In the bathroom, we’ve been slowly backing off from doing everything with/for him.  Granted, at home, he’s still using a training seat because it’s there, but we’ve moved from our having to help him with most of his undressing and redressing to having him do the bulk of it himself.  Still, he insists on our being present when he uses the bathroom, and it would be nice if we could work more fully towards his going to the bathroom escorted, with us waiting outside the door/stall while he does his business.  I’m hopeful that we can get there sooner rather than later, or that it’s just a “with Mommy and Abba” problem (ie, that he goes just fine at school).

Dressing is another place that I’d love to get some more independence for him.  We do a lot of aiding with his dressing and undressing at this point, but he’s shown capability to actually do most of it himself, save perhaps for orienting his clothing.  Maybe over vacations or the like would be a good time to provide him with his clothing – maybe even let him pick out his own clothes – and see what he can make of putting them on himself.

Really, it feels like we might just be a few pushes away from having him a bit more self-guided than he’s been so far, so it’s something for us to bear in mind (and work on with his therapists) in the coming months…

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