The trial and error approach to special needs parenting

Something that I have learned while on my journey as a special needs parent,  is that parenting is not an exact science. In fact,  in my personal experience,  parenting in general consists of a whole lot of trial and error.

The very nature of trial and error means that mistake are bound to happen.

However,  through those mistakes,  we learn to become better parents. This is an absolute truth with the Lost and Tired family.  I make mistakes all the time,  I mean it’s not like there is an instruction manual that tells me what to do. Parenting in and of itself is difficult but special needs parenting…that’s in a class all to itself.

Sometimes the only thing you can do is guess at what the right thing to do is. I can’t telling you how many times our search for answers or even guidance has produced nothing. When that happens,  all you can really do is follow your gut.

We have once again been caught up in the whole trial and error cycle in regards to Gavin’s behavioral problems and boundary issues.

After much consultation,  we decided that we had to enact a zero tolerance policy when it comes Gavin touching another person. We had tried everything to teach him boundaries and nothing worked. As a last resort and in an attempt to protect,  not only those around Gavin but also Gavin himself,  we put the zero tolerance policy into affect.

This was essentially an experiment or trial. We were hoping that by eliminating physical contact,  that we would at least be ensuring that everyone’s boundaries and personal space were respected.  This was a difficult but necessary step to ensure that everyone remained safe.  At the time,  it seemed like the only thing we had left to do before having to take a much more drastic and unpleasant approach.

What I didn’t realize at the time was that this would be insanely difficult to enforce and essentially lead to a sort of paranoia within the Lost and Tired household. I couldn’t have known this because I can’t predict the future.

However,  in the spirit of trial and error,  things would have to be adjusted in order to produce the desired affect. That change came in the form of revaluation. 

After meeting with Dr.  Pattie last night,  we decided to allow for touching on the hands -think handshake-. We did this because we were constantly hear about how “Gavin touched my hand when I handed him the Lego”,  or something to that affect. It was absolutely crazy and exhausting.  It also wasn’t teaching Gavin anything but touching is wrong.

The message we were trying to send was that he doesn’t have the right to touch anyone,  in anyway,  that makes them feel uncomfortable. The problem is that Gavin just doesn’t seem to grasp that concept.

This newer approach will allow for some touching but at the same time ensure that it’s very limited.

This essentially eliminates the air of paranoia in the house and allows for a little bit more freedom. However,  in most cases,  when Gavin is given an inch,  he takes a mile. Only time will tell if this change in approach will produce the results we desire. 

If history repeats itself,  we will have to continue on with the process of trial and error. Hopefully,  we can learn from the things that didn’t work and turn those lessons into to something that does.

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