Independent Study

It’s frustrating, sometimes, seeing the things that the Monster can’t do, compared to other children his own age.

Granted, it’s not like he’s fully non-verbal, or that he’s entirely incapable of doing things for himself.  I do count our blessings on that regard, because it could always be much worse.  (Though, for the record, “it could be much worse” is a horrible, self-defeating outlook on life.)

But I’ll admit that I’ve also sometimes gotten to the point that I don’t notice the things he is capable of doing, and I should be doing more to foster his sense of independence.

On Saturday morning, the Monster got on his shoes by himself.  Yes, they’re velcro and single closure, and yes, they just really need to be pulled on and the strap closed.  But I’d not seen him do that before, either part of the process – finding the shoes and then putting them on himself.  Most of the time, we’re helping him with all of his dressing from head to toe.  (He’s fine with pulling clothes down and up for using the bathroom, or with buttoning up a shirt once it’s on his arms, but I’ve yet to see him put on most of his clothes all by himself.  The issue’s usually alignment of the clothing.)  Also, mind you, we’d no where to be going, but he does prefer to be wearing his sneakers and so the fact that he can go put them on himself is a great thing.

He’s also, largely, taking himself to the bathroom at this point without having to say something to us.  It’s a toss-up as to whether or not he waits for one of us to prompt him to go – I’ve noticed that he tends to not do it as much with the wife as he does it with me – but he’s not always waiting for someone to ask him if he needs to go.  The downside to this is that he’s still getting reinforcement for when he goes, and doesn’t always tell us which he’s done when he’s using the facilities… which means he might not be getting clean properly (he’s not great at wiping) or getting the proper reward.

But then there’s other concerns we have, like his recognition about safety around streets.  I take him to the bus stop every morning, and I’ll admit that he’s still not grasped the concept of ‘look both ways, make sure no cars are coming, and then cross’.  Couple it with the fact that we do need to cross a major street, and I’m justifiably concerned that he’d actually step into traffic without looking.  BUT… to try to foster more independence, I’ve started backing off once we’ve crossed, just making sure that he’s not stepping off into the street until the bus has come to a complete stop in front of us.  And this morning, without any direction from me, he actually stood there patiently until the bus had stopped and the doors opened, before he stepped off the curb and climbed on.  Maybe by the end of the year, he’ll have learned to look both ways and whatnot, but we’ll see…

Slow and steady progress.

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