Thursday, August 29, 2013

De-cluttering the Atmosphere


Packing. It is time to pack. I love to travel. I hate to pack. What do I take? What can I leave behind? Do I need that third pair of flip-flops? The “3-1-1 rule” at the airports is not friendly to my sunscreen & shampoo needs. Will the airline lose my luggage yet again? So many choices, so little space. Too many options and I am now paralyzed with indecision.

Stop. Breathe. Breathe again.

This is not an uncommon situation when working with children and adults with special needs. The result can be an increase in anxiety that triggers agitation and/or “freezes” the person in their confusion. Too many verbal directions? Too much stimuli? Take a moment and de-clutter the atmosphere.  Everyone processes information differently. We need to remember that it is the “information sender” (parent, teacher, staff) who has the responsibility to be sure the “information receiver” (child, student, client) understands the message. It is our responsibility to deliver it to them in the language and speed that they can process. Slow it down. Keep your tone of voice neutral. Pick the best time and method to communicate. Let’s face it, you know your child best.

Share your knowledge with those people who work with your child and take in from them what they have found is successful. I will never forget the elderly man who worked as a housekeeper at Latham back in the 1980’s. He suggested I put the trash can next to the door in a student’s bedroom. He said the student remembers to empty it because she sees it on her way out of the room. Back in the far corner it was “out of sight, out of mind." There was now no need to remind her to empty it with multiple verbal directions. The maintenance man figured it out: this kid was a visual communicator. The result: fewer shut-downs, more praise and success.

Now it is time for me to return to packing. Here is a little gem of advice I learned from a travel expert: Build your travel wardrobe around three complimentary colors. All your individual pieces will go with whatever else you have in your suitcase. Fewer decisions, more time to enjoy the trip! Ciao!

Submitted by:
Chris Gallant


Related Posts:
Clear the Clutter
The Road Trip
Mindfulness in the West Wing



“The more simple we are, the more complete we become.”
~ August Rodin

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