Pat is a mother of two awesome young men in their 20’s (both with alphabet soup diagnoses including ADHD and Autism Spectrum Disorder) and is a cat person. With Masters of Counseling Psychology and Social Work, she works in an agency that supports (in-home) parents who have a developmental or cognitive disability/impairment in building and maintaining parenting skills. She is also an adjunct facilitator in the Human Services program at Columbia College in an accelerated learning program. Hobbies include reading, writing poetry, and she hopes to one day publish strategy based ‘picture books’ for adults, using photos taken by her family. Click here to learn more about Patricia.
Here is one of Pat’s parenting strategies to help when your little one is a mover:
A) “Stay Still Place.” A hands-on visual strategy where a special pad is used as a “stay still place”. Praise the child often during a change time in order to reinforce staying still and give meaning to the word “still”. Praise the child even if he or she is able to stay still for a short time and state when child has stayed still enough for a longer period than before. If more than one pad is available, a toddler or older infant may be given the choice of which one will be the ‘stay still’ place this time.
B) Portable “special spot.” Staying in one spot is a major achievement and is not easy to master. A visual cue such as a towel, pad, small blanket that can easily be transported in a purse or “special spot bag” serves as a marker for the child (toddler, preschooler, etc.) to stay. Use positive phrasing such as “stand on your spot” rather than “don’t move” to inform the child ‘what to do’ rather than ‘what not to do’. Child can help make the ‘spot’ his or her own by decorating it before it is used. Suggestion: Use an identifying symbol such as an animal or a color rather than the child’s name on the item used as spot. As a parent with characteristics of ADD, I can become distracted and a ‘special spot’ could be a routine part of a shopping trip or other activity. I can also function better with less stimulation so focusing on the special spot could help screen out colors and items around me and decrease anxiety about my child’s safety and whereabouts.