Where are Your Energies Directed

I remember the first time a doctor told me I had to help Jaedon learn some skill (like looking in my eyes) that he was not doing and that typical kids did effortlessly. I was freaked out! If my son has no inclination to do a particular thing, how in the world could I make him???

I've discovered that I may not be able to make him do anything, but I can encourage him, celebrate him and even ask him to do a whole lot of things. So many of the not-so solid skills, the missed steps that our kids are challenged by, are things that they already do, perhaps infrequently, unintentionally and with a looong delay. Yet, whatever we focus our energies on becomes bigger. I've decided to be a detective for my son's hidden skills so I can celebrate them like crazy. If I don't believe they are there, I won't even see them when they show up. So I have a built in curiosity about what he does. Everything is examined for the value, the possibilities, the learnings. When I see something that I want to see more of, I celebrate it. When I haven't seen it yet, or not seen it in a long while, I ask for it. I explain why I'd like to see that thing. You know what? Sometimes he just does it!

Right now we are starting to encourage use of eyes to communicate. I initially had my old reaction. How can I make Jaedon look at something he wants?? Then I remembered. I started noticing whenever he looked at something, and told him I noticed it. I offered him the item he glanced at. I also created a variation on his favorite tickle/scratch game, where my hands lost energy and needed to be looked at so that he could get them activated again. I wiggled them enthusiastically and pleaded for looks, I tickled weakly as a tired tickle machine. After a few rounds, he got it! There is still a delay, he still needs lots of encouragement, but he is doing it.

So what could your little person benefit from learning? Don't focus on its absence, focus on its presence. Look for it with anticipation. Celebrate it like crazy, ask for it enthusiastically, and never give up!