Charlie started 11th grade today.
It has been such a journey these 18 years.
Sometimes it feels like it has been 30 years.
Today was a day of feeling grateful for so many things.
Grateful for the progress he has made up to this point.
He can talk and communicate his needs.
He can make his own chicken nuggets now.
He is in a mainstream classroom.
He can tie his shoes.
He is able to dress himself.
Even with all these wonderful life and social skills he can do, it still is not easy for him. Every single day he struggles. It is just a matter of the degree of the struggle.
He didn't just learn these skills on his own.
Some of them took months to master.
Some took years to master.
Some we are still working on.
He had help and continues to have help.
I remember when Ms. Stilling, SLP said he was going to read this high school book and he was only in middle school. I was scared. He was scared. He did it. That was a breakthrough in reading that year. I will never forget it.
Sad to say but I can't remember when my daughter started reading high school material. I don't remember when my daughter learned to tie her shoes, but I do with Charlie. It was with Ms. Mariela OTA. I don't remember when my daughter dressed herself, it seemed like she could always do this. For years Charlie would put his clothes on inside out or backwards when we started to have him do this on his own.
Charlie has had some wonderful therapists, teachers, and even peers who have helped to build his confidence along the way.
He has had to trust them as he walked through his fears.
He has had to let go and let them lead.
He has had to ask for help.
Many different teachers I remember would walk with him when his frustrations were building and he couldn't communicate fully what he was stressed about. They took that time to build their relationship with him. They wanted him to know that he could get through it. They wanted him to trust them.
Building relationships with your child or your students is key.
When trust is built first they will listen more.
They will do what you ask of them.
They will try more things.
They will push through their fears.
They have a relationship with you.
Your tone and how you talk with them is key too in building trust.
How is your tone with your child or student? Are you more worried about being right or having things the way you want them or are you focusing on what is best for the child?
It is never about us and it is always about them. What is best for them? Getting them to make progress and work towards independence should be the priority, not doing things to make your life easier or simpler.
Parents remember to partner with your child's team. Teachers or therapists remember to build trust first.
Your goal is to have them make progress, the key is building trust.
When you build trust you will start seeing the seeds you planted starting to sprout and there is nothing better than to see this blossom.
How will you build trust today with your child or student today?