A Mum's Journey with Dyspraxia

Managing behaviour…

Part of dyspraxia is the “world” of frustration.  Frustration for not being able to physically do what they want to do, frustration for not being able to communicate what they want to say, frustration for not being able to keep up with others, frustration for just not being the same.

The thing you learn as a parent, once your first child hits about 18 months, is that frustration is the major cause of tantrums in our toddlers.  At this age our children minds are generally way ahead of their physical capabilities so they get frustrated about everything.  Some children can be having tantrum after tantrum just because they can’t do it themselves. 

Children with dyspraxia have to cope with frustration on a daily bases.  For Kaden this is obviously around his lack of communication.  Over the past 6 months Kaden’s frustration has increased and we have been struggling with his behaviour.  I say WE have been struggling, because now on reflection, I can see that his behaviour falls on us – his parents and caregivers.  It is not Kaden’s fault that he can’t communicate effectively; it is not Kaden’s fault that he is frustrated and angry with the world around him.  Can you blame him really?  Imagine having all the same thoughts and feelings as everyone around you but not being able to effectively communicate them.

 We have tried all the typical strategies, but nothing has worked for us.  If you have been following my blogs you would have worked out by now that my parenting style does not include timeouts and reward charts.  But I have been willing to try anything so I have been following all the advice given to me by the Ministry “experts”.   Fail, after fail, I finally decided to follow the only expert on Kaden… ME and all of Kaden’s everyday caregivers.  

 On reflection I have realised that I have been mourning for Kaden.  I can see him struggle and feel his pain.  And like all children, Kaden is not happy when I am not happy.  When I can teach myself to be happy and calm, it is so much easier to teach Kaden.  How can we teach a behaviour that we can even model?  Being calm and patient is a skill most parents have to learn but when you have a child with special needs, being calm and patient must be your parenting model.  You must be calm to make your child feel calm and you must be patient and give your child the time they need to do everyday tasks. 

 Life is slower, life is harder but life is pretty wonderful when you see the joy and happiness in your child’s face when they are just the same as everyone else and living life.