We are learning the hard way that because autistic children have no concept of time, past, present or future, they don’t understand the concept of waiting. Add that to the fact that your autistic child may also have developmental delays and be non-verbal, outsiders looking in might see a teenager throwing a spectacular meltdown and think them spoilt. This is not the case!
BounceAbility has been a place that we have been able to work on Ethan’s waiting skills. We actually have so many skills to work on at BounceAbility and Ethan’s 15 minute slot really does keep us on our toes. It is so much more than bouncing time for Ethan, he just doesn’t know it yet!
The very first time we took Ethan to BounceAbility and he saw the trampolines all he wanted to do was get on them, but we had to wait for our time. This meant we had to physically hold him back with all our strength and tears and meltdowns commenced. In the end we had to take him back to the car to calm him down and take him back right at his start time.
We learnt our lesson from that first day, I would go into the building and Ethan would wait in the car with Nanny and Grandad. When I got the thumbs up from Ethan’s teacher that he was ready to start I would then get Ethan so he could start his lesson.
As the months have passed I have been getting a little braver and started to take Ethan into the building a few minutes before his start time. This has now built up to five minutes before his lesson begins, I won’t push it any further than that!
With lots of ‘Ethan waiting’ and continuously placing Ethan on the chair to wait, even holding our hands on his legs and on his chest, we can wait the five minutes. It’s hard work and I have to have Nanny’s support because if there is one weak moment in our waiting tactics Ethan is off like a shot. I’m sure we come out of BounceAbility more exhausted than Ethan and we don’t even get a go on the trampolines!
It’s all about those small steps but I’m so glad we are working on Ethan’s waiting skills in some form.