Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

When There Is No Time

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

When There Is No Time

Article excerpt

It's cooled down to a brisk 86 degrees Central Texas. A true sign that a new school year has begun and if you're like me and have a special needs child, it also involves a new year of juggling therapies, special activities, and school. My son, Broden, is trying something new this year. He will not only be going to an ABA clinic throughout the week, but will also be going to preschool. This in itself has caused a new level of awareness in what skills are being introduced to Broden. After looking at the preschool curriculum, we are now working on handwriting, cutting, sitting in a circle for a certain period of time, ensuring he can sit and eat a snack next to his peers without a reinforcer. The act of typing out this list exhausts me. Just when I thought we were staying afloat and moving forward, a huge wave of more obstacles came crashing down on us.

The first week of school was a mix of emotions for me. I was extremely proud of Broden as I watched him walk around his new classroom and start to observe the other children. We were finally here. We made it! But as I left, I felt a sense of anxiety and nervousness. Was Broden going to be able to get through the day? Would he understand the basic concepts being taught and would the kids look at him differently?

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

After the first week was over, Broden's team got together. What do we need to work on to ensure Broden can thrive in the classroom? As we got into our huddle, I started to realize that more time will be needed to be spent at home working on these skills, even more than before we started school. I admit I am a strategist. If I am given an obstacle, I have a tendency to look at the problem and find ways to change what I am doing to get better results. It's in my nature. This is how I have tried to tackle the need to spend more time on skills with Broden.

As a Mom, it is very common for me to be able to write an email, answer a phone call, make dinner, and feed my dog all at once. As a Mom, if I couldn't multitask, how could I get anything done? My husband still does not understand this skill, but he's perfectly content keeping that a mystery. Since this is "how I roll" in the Huhtanen house, I started to make a list of the skills Broden needed to work on and then I made a short list of what we could do together to move towards mastering these skills.

What I began to realize was that we could get a lot accomplished in short spurts of time. I did not need to block off an hour to work on a skill. …

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