April 28th: Autism has taught me that the smallest changes can make a huge difference.
This concept can be for the better or the worst. When my husband was working long hours on post and, though coming home every night, wasn’t able to see the kids while they were awake, K started having issues in the classroom. It culminated with her spitting on a classmate one day and kissing a classmate on another day. The following weekend, as a result of good behavior the rest of the week, she got a lunch date with daddy. The smallest change, such as a work schedule conflict, makes a huge difference in the routine and life of someone with autism.
My husband has been away for 14 days. He has 14 (or more) days before he comes back from training. This could have been a huge issue for our kids and their behavior. He has done a wonderful job of calling when he can and sending text messages to our daughter. It might take her 15 minutes to type out a response and by then he has no signal again, but just getting those messages from daddy is enough to keep her steady and her behavior, though difficult at home, hasn’t changed at school.
Food, as I’ve mentioned before, can be quite the issue at our house. After months of work to get K to eat “Chicken Ws” from Burger King, she was doing really well. For a while, we had no issues… Then something happened, something we never could have predicted. They changed the shape of the nuggets! McDonald’s has “blob” shaped nuggets, Burger King has “Chicken Ws”. All the work we had put into getting her to eat them was ruined. One small change destroyed months of hard work and we had to start all over again. It took months of work for her to eat them without a fuss.
It’s the little things that keep the routine going. When you look at it all in the big picture, it’s the little things. Going to bed an hour early, eating more or less at dinner, it all effects the routine and makes a huge difference in how our family can operate. We have fewer tantrums and less intense fits, we have more good days and better experiences all around. Small changes can make things better or they can make things worse, but small changes always make a huge difference.