It’s no secret that children with sensory processing disorder need a lot of our time and attention. What do we do when the siblings feel they aren’t getting their fair share? It can be very challenging.
When MeMe has a particularly hard time controlling his behavior and we’re obviously all upset about it, after the chaos is contained and MeMe is having some alone/cool-off time, I discuss with the others that we all have our difficulties life and for some people behaving appropriately is easy and for some it’s very difficult. That for some playing ball is easy and others need more practice. That for some reading comes easy and for others it’s a challenge, and that for some schoolwork is a no-brainer while others struggle.
I don’t emphasize or discuss this very often, but I feel the need to drive home the message that nobody is perfect and we all have our strengths and weaknesses, and at the same time make it clear to them that just because I’ve had to bend the rules for MeMe once in a while, doesn’t mean that I will dismiss some of the same kind of behaviors coming from them.
Also, it is very obvious to the older ones that MeMe isn’t quite the same as them, and when we discuss how everyone’s different from each other, it makes MeMe’s different-ness not so different after all.
We also discuss some of the things we are good at doing, and some of the things we would like to get better in. For this discussion I include MeMe who needs to learn that nobody is the smartest, greatest, or best-est in the world.
Besides for these discussions, when I see that the little ones are really not getting enough of my attention, I create a plan to take out each of them separately after school to spend some time with them, even if it means them going to bed late.
Sometimes I will leave little notes for them to find. Yesterday I hung a little poster with a “You Did Your Best” award sticker attached and a quick note, thanking my son for making his bed in the morning. He found it when he came home from school and his face was beaming for the rest of the night.
I hung a similar note for MeMe, thanking him for keeping his dresser-top clear. He surprised me by flipping it over, pulling out his markers, and writing a note to me, thanking me for making his bed for him. Then he hung it by my bed!
One day I plan to hang up a bulletin-board type of thing with an envelope for each child. That way if I want to tell them something and they aren’t around, I can simply write a note and put it in his envelope for him/her to find. Only positive messages, of course. 🙂