I am so impressed with our new autism counselor. She is to the point and honest and I feel like she could really work well for our family. After 3 visits, she is the first to offer me a bit of assistance achieving not only ideas, but the carry-through of those ideas. She speaks candidly to me and to Kaeden, and though I try not to get my hopes up too high, due to the major disappointments we've suffered in the past, I am feeling really good.
Today when she arrived she immediately asked Kaeden to recount the appointment last week and what her reason for being here was. She discussed the plans we had made and went through each one, asking each of us in turn how it worked. When I told her of my confusion in how to use a certain plan, she accepted the criticism and looked at another way of working it. She remains firm that she isn't a miracle worker, but does hope to help restore some peace into our home.
After discussing some of the negative events surrounding our week, she told me she'd consider some ideas and come back to me with possibilities next week. She doesn't dive into anything, but wants to consider what may best work for our family. She is happy that we are trying to find help. She was thrilled when I told her my husband agreed to a weekly one-hour playdate alone with Kaeden, after voicing my concerns that he is just no longer willing to put in an effort. She told me that his dedication is exactly what we need to seek out changes. That my devotion is what will see these changes through. That Kaeden eneds to learn what dedicating himself means, and that once he sees us carrying through with these plans, she has hope that he will find his way as well.
Today we agreed on a yellow and red card plan. 3 warnings and then a red card for time out in his room. This is to help the reaction and negativity in our voices during a conflict to no longer be an issue. We don't need to use words, and in fact, it is better when we don't. Kaeden will benefit from not hearing us 'belittle' him while he knows visually what his actions are doing. When we say no, it becomes a verbal confrontation. Using these cards, hopefully that confrontation won't ensue and Kaeden gets the idea without driving us to irritation which further thunders up the problem.
I can't say whether this will work or not, but the idea behind it seems really useful. I would love to have a system to create less conflict between our family members. Kaeden will no longer have the need to have the last word, as no words need to be exchanged. Words are used only during positive interaction. And she continually reinforced the idea that mama and papa are working hard to help our family, but his job is to follow through with the commands (cards) or he's just adding to his own discomfort in our family.
After she left, Kaeden adn I sat down and made our cards. I have them in my pocket, waiting for their first use. And I hope when our counselor returns next week, I can say that the system is working, that our family is in slightly better spirits and humor.
I'm interested to see what happens when the first red card is distributed...or even if the red card needs to be pulled out. Tensions are currently high, but can I hope some of it can be resolved by a simple stoplight system? I'll let you know...