Monday 27 June 2022

Why we need space!

Quite often after both little superheroes have had big days, either at school or if we have gone on a family outing, they will need space and time to decompress. The sensory, emotional and social overload can, and often does, take a huge amount of physical, emotional and mental effort. And the combined overload takes a toll mentally, physically and emotionally and can leave an individual feeling completely exhausted.

Having Henry to assist L is an immense help but both little superheroes still need to decompress in their own time and in their own spaces.

Every individual has their own coping mechanisms, and the little superheroes are no different.

Since having Henry placed with us, L will almost always go straight to Henry and give Henry the commands for laps and overs (deep pressure therapy,) or just lay on the floor getting Henry cuddles.

We give them time to chill out - L has a huge cardboard box that he and Henry squeeze into, either to play on a device or just to lay and have cuddles. O will usually lay in her room listening to music. Depending on the overload for the day, really depends on how much time they need to chill and just be.

Once the little superheroes have self regulated, they will often come and seek us out for cuddles. Going to them too soon, can make their exhaustion worse.

Often parents, and/or carers, will ask their children or loved ones, well meaning and well intentional questions about their day. Questions such as "how was your day?" or "what did you do today?" or "did you have a good day?" These questions may make individuals who are already feeling overwhelmed, feel even more bombarded and/or bewildered as questions such as these are very broad.

How was your day? It is still day, so I don't know yet.
What did you do today? You know what I did today, I went to school/work/whatever activity was planned.
Did you have a good day? Can you define good? I didn't get into trouble at school if that is what you mean so that is good, but I felt overwhelmed by my anxiety so that wasn't good.

Unless the little superheroes begin talking with us about what has happened to cause them to feel overwhelmed, we leave the questions until dinner time, This way, part of their daily routine is to talk about the good things that happened.

Obviously if either of the little superheroes want to talk before dinner, we talk. Letting them take the lead, when they are feeling less overwhelmed, usually means that they will both be open about what is causing them distress.

At dinner, we focus on the good things. Talking about the day in a positive manner makes the world of a difference. We will usually get everyone, including us, to say one good thing that happened at school/work that day. And when we do ask questions about the little superheroes day, we ask focused questions based on what we know that they have been doing for the day.

And most importantly, if either of the little superheroes become overwhelmed, we provide them with support. If an individual becomes overwhelmed from sensory or emotional or social, and so on, inputs, they just need and want to be supported.

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