Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Try This Tuesday: Shortcuts


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One of the things about our twins that was simultaneously impressive and frustrating when they were younger, was that they were great with directions / navigation. Anywhere that they had been more than once, even if it was a 30 minute drive from home, they could remember how to get there again and they knew if we missed a turn. They are better than me with directions, that's for sure.

The frustrating part was, they went ballistic if we missed a turn, or if we took a different route, or if we said you were going to Walmart but then had the nerve to stop for gas first (after all, we didn't say we were going to the gas station, we said we were going to Walmart). I'm talking screaming, thrashing, kicking, hysterical boys in the back seat. This was before they were dx'd so we really didn't understand why they got so upset over things like that.

Once they were dx'd, we started to better understand their need for routine and the fact that they attached great significance to even the most mundane (to us) details (like which route to take to get to a particular place). For the sake of our sanity (what was left of it anyway), we knew we had to find a way to teach them that it was ok if we took a different route or made a stop along the way, we'd still arrive in the same place at the end.

One thing we did was to draw out some crude maps of our area and show them visibly how you can start at a place and there can be two different roads that will get you where you want to go. We taught them the concept of "shortcuts" (it didn't really matter if the "shortcut" was actually shorter or not) and whenever we needed to make a pitstop or go a different way to get somewhere, we'd tell them we were taking a "shortcut."

At first, they'd scream whenever we said we were taking a shortcut. But when we got to our destination, we'd point out, "see, we took the shortcut and we still made it here ok. There is more than one way to get to _________." It took time, but eventually, they caught on and accepted the idea, which made car trips much more pleasant!

8 comments:

Julie on July 29, 2008 at 7:03 AM said...

Wonderful idea! My son is just starting to get upset when he thinks we're going the wrong way. I'll keep this in mind!

Kari on July 29, 2008 at 7:49 AM said...

I know a little guy that freaks out like this over change. Even if you don't park the car exactly where it is supposed to go (one foot off even)he gets really upset. I will mention to her the map and the way you have explained all this maybe it will make for more peaceful car rides for them. Thanks

Trish on July 29, 2008 at 8:11 AM said...

This is awesome - love the map idea! My son was the same way, would scream bloody murder if you turned left to the grocery store instead of going straight home after daycare.

Seeing a construction detour still makes me start talking fast to make him aware of him as soon as possible before we have to leave our route.

Maps probably would have been a big help for him. Thanks for the great tip!

lilmomthatcould.com on July 29, 2008 at 8:26 AM said...

My DS is the same way he knows how to get from point A to B it is funny to have him show us the way. I love the map idea.

Jenny on July 29, 2008 at 10:31 AM said...

Great idea! My son also doesn't like any change in routine! I think giving a visual representation beforehand would be a huge help!

Terri on July 29, 2008 at 6:49 PM said...

My daughter didn't (doesn't still) understand maps, but the change in routine would kill her. I kept index cards and a marker in my purse and we would "draw" sequence cards saying first we will to this, then this, and LAST this. If we had a change of plans we would scramble to add in new cards. Maybe if we had shown her maps she would understand them now... great idea!

Tammy and Parker on July 29, 2008 at 9:05 PM said...

Excellent idea! I'm going to file that one away to draw upon later!

Maddy on July 30, 2008 at 9:28 AM said...

Now listen hear missy - I came along here to see your photo!

Nevermind.......so.....all I can say is that I too enduring about 18 months of "NO U-TURN" from one of mine at 50 decibels.

I often thought I should put a sticker on the back of the car to the effect that I wasn't using a cell phone, there were other reasons for my erratic driving, but the driver would then be enticed to get closer to read the details and then I'd be sued for enticement when I was rear ended!

Shortcut, what does that mean!
Cheers

 

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I'm a mom of three boys on the autism spectrum, 11-yr-old identical twins and a 7-yr-old. My husband is a SAHD.

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