The following was written and published in 2012 by RDI Consultant Lisa Palasti.
I keep a folder of snippets my clients have sent me over the years about successes they’ve experienced during their RDI journey. Occasionally, I like to re-read these gems to reflect on those triumphs no matter how seemingly big or small they are. I view them as tremendous triumphs that should be lapped up and relished. This little tid-bit was shared by one of the parents that I work with about her son and the resiliency he demonstrated during a routine bath.
The child (let’s call him “John”) is a young 4 year old. He has a co-occurring conditions of Oral Motor Apraxia, sensory processing disorder along with Autism. John has learned how to sign as one form of communication.
Mom writes “I just thought I’d share a little story about John’s resilience. The other night John was playing with soap in the bath (as you recall he LOVES soap!), then after his bath he kept asking me for soap and I kept telling him no. He didn’t get upset he just kept asking me to the point where I was starting to get upset with him. He’s hasn’t been that persistent after a “no” in a very long time. I didn’t understand why he wouldn’t give it up and why he didn’t seem mad that I was saying no if he actually wanted it that badly. Then on about the 10th attempt I realized he was actually signing “slide” and what he wanted was his toy car garage that he calls slide because of the ramp. So I got it for him and he was happy. Finally! I knew why he wasn’t getting mad and wasn’t giving up when I kept saying no soap, because he didn’t want soap :). I was just really impressed that he kept trying to communicate with me when I clearly wasn’t getting it, he didn’t give up which I think will really help him when he’s around people that don’t know his signs nearly as well as I do. So…yay John! 🙂
I celebrate this story for a few reasons. The first reason is because the mother appreciated this moment and was able to celebrate it as well. This is extremely important when participating in the “Marathon” of remediation. You all might remember one of Dr. Gutsteins’ mantras “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” – relishing the small successes are incredibly important to provide us with fuel for our journeys. By reflecting on these small successes, parents also build resiliency AND motivation to continue on their paths.
The second reason I was so struck by this story was not only because the child was so patient and resilient with his mom when she didn’t understand him, but more specifically that he understood that communication breaks down and requires maintenance and repair. He kept trying because he understands that communication is not absolute. He understood that mom wasn’t saying “no” to the slide, she was saying “no” to the soap which he absolutely loves and could play with all day long.
I hope you enjoyed this little story about resiliency as much as I did! Maybe you have some of your own stories that are worth reflection.
Lisa Palasti, blessed mom of 2 special kids, lives with her family in Kitchener, Ontario. She began her RDI certification to become one of the 1st certified consultants in Canada in 2004. Life is much richer and more meaningful to Lisa since she now views the world through “RDI-Coloured Lenses”. If you have a little (or big) success story, please consider contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. Your story could inspire and light the way for others.