” Will he ever be able to read properly?”
” I don’t know.”
“You know, like a Harry Potter book or something?”
“I’m really not sure. We didn’t even think he would be able to speak to us a few years ago, but I think he may have trouble with big stories, maybe even filling out and understanding forms when he’s older. I just don’t know…”
This is part of a conversation that I had recently with Ethan’s Dad. Those questions that I do not have the answers for. As a mum, I’m wracking my brain to work out ways that I can help give Ethan the best tools and skills so that he can get through this thing we call life.
Society is brutal. And I can only imagine how even more brutal and perhaps frightening it could be for a young person with an Intellectual Disability trying to navigate his way through the maze.
I want to protect him for the rest of my days. As Mothers do.
I’ve reached out to a few people who know way more about books and reading than I do – I hope I can get some answers that may give me a platform to start on. Being able to understand the world is tough enough. I never want Ethan to be taken advantage of.
So, as a blended family (yes, we are all civil and talk about Ethan together), the only thing I knew was that we have to be on the same page. Words, sentences and big stories confuse him, make him stressed. He hates it.
I can totally relate to hating something and being made to do it. So I thought about how to “pitch” the idea of introducing some time to work on words – through his obsession.
One of Ethan’s obsessions is electronics. You name it, tablets, bluetooth headphones, iPods, blue tooth keyboards, playstation games. The kid is an absolute wiz at all these things. From turning on a game for the first time, within an hour, he is an expert. It’s like Lego. Put a huge box of Lego in front of him with the instructions, and the whole city is made and completed before I can even finish making dinner.
Ethan has such focus on the things he loves the most. His electronics give him the opportunity to not be part of the “world” that can be scary for him at times. Electronics are his safe zone.
I get it.
So I used it to my advantage.
His Dad, Steve, and I talked to Ethan about allocating some time every day to work on words. Work on reading. We explained as a “united front” why it’s important, that we understood it’s frustrating, but that by putting some hard yards in now will greatly help him get a job later on.
He eyes were darting around, not focusing, and trying to listen to the sound of Dora the Explorer playing in the background.
“15 minutes a day, buddy” I said, sort of snapping him back to the three of us with him.
“Yes, yes – okay.” “Do I have to every day?” “Yes matey, for now, lets try for every day.”
And then it clicked for me.
“Hey E. I saw this AWESOME video today about a guy that had trouble at school and he got into computers. It’s on YouTube (his favorite thing in the whole entire world). It goes for about 25 minutes. Would you like to watch it and then have a talk with me about it afterwards?”
25 minutes later…
“I can do anything can’t I?”
“You most certainly can honey.”
I urge you to watch the below video that Ethan watched. If you have kids, get them to watch it. It is beautiful with such a powerful message.
Started this mother-hood gig early. 8 years later went in for a second round.
Married to my Ying of my Yang. Coffee lover and addict. Frequent traveller to Bali - my happy place.
Searcher for happiness. Eternal #peaceseeker
Writer, clothes washing and folding hater and dreamer of a goods night sleep.
Mama to my baby boy who has Autism. Not a baby anymore though, #heisnearlyastallasme. Follow my journey through photos on Instagram @blissandmayhem
I love white chocolate melts and hate coriander. Give me a good tune to bust out a move any time of the day.
Decided to write a book. OMG!
Latest posts by Cheryl McLean (see all)
- Start Turning the “I Can’t Do This” into “Anything is Possible” - October 6, 2016
- Autism Through a Child’s Eyes: Imagine Anxiety, Pressure, Stress, Panic - May 31, 2016