House Keeping With Your Special Needs Child ! Theres No Maid HERE !!

So I’m cruising on Facebook and see this post on one of my Autism mommy groups written by a mother of 6 and how she is able to keep her home clean and organized. The comments under the post were mostly by furious exhausted autism mommys as they did not feel the post was even relevant to them and guess what, they are probably right ! House keeping and having a child and some more than one child with special needs brings house keeping to a whole different level. When my adult children were small(there were 6 of them)my house was a hot mess ALL the time ! Now I just have my 6 year old with autism and I have to tell you he can make 3 times the mess of all my children in half the time BUT my house is NOT a mess, not anymore anyway. I finally have this figured out after 35 years of raising kids. For me the question is not “how to clean a house with a VERY active 6 year old on the spectrum” its more “how not to get stuck cleaning your life away ! I have better things to do with my life than clean, so take it from an old pro, this IS how you can STOP cleaning SO much. Though my focus is mostly for families with kiddos with special needs this would also work for any family with small children.

TAKE OWNERSHIP OF THE TOYS ! :

Face it we love our kiddos and we want to get them their hearts desire but I’m going to be honest with you if you have a kiddo with autism and special interest they are probably only playing with a few of those toys, the other toys are more than likely just contributing to the billion things in this world that are over stimulating to them and triggering behaviors. Keep the few toys they are actually playing with and put the rest away. When I say put them away I mean, make them inaccessible even if you have to lock them up. I watch my lil mr and when he starts getting bored with those toys, I will go to the BIG toy box and exchange the toys in his little toy box. My guys has been playing with the same 4 super heros for the last week without complaint and seems waaay more content in not having to spred ALL the toys he owns out in front of him. The bonus is when he does exchange his toys its like Christmas everytime.

SPECIAL BOXES:

Make some of your childs toys work for you:

I have 2 boxes I keep up out of reach, one with games, one with art supplies, playdough and playdough toys. These are “special boxes. They only come out when I can sit and play with him and he earns them with accomplishing expectations(like cleaning up after himself). I really make these times special and give him my undivided attention when playing with these “special boxes BUT when we are done he helps me clean them up and they get put away.

ALWAYS, ALWAYS HAVE A MOTIVATOR:

We always have to clean up what we are doing before we can do something else, its just the way it is. With a kid with special needs if you want him to clean up ALL his toys you have to make that something he manage and be successful at and you always have to have a prize at the end. Some kiddos just need a kiss others need a prize box, the best thing you can do to get your kiddo more independent is to find out what motivates him and set him up to succeed. If that means you have to pick up 2 toys with him hand over hand and the reward is a M&M then do it.

KEEP A SCHEDUAL:

As we all know our kiddos work the best when they able to predict what is going to happen next. With my guy he plays with toys for 20 minutes in the morning, I set a timer,the timer goes off, he picks them up (his 4 super heros) and is motivated to do so by the next step on his schedule which is eating breakfast and watching one of his favorite shows, other wise we would get stuck on picking up the toys for the majority of the morning. I try to keep that carrot dangling in front of him all day, he does something hard and gains something good. Build in things that motivate him on the other side of things that are difficult for him and put it on the schedule until it becomes a habit. When he just does it automatically then build in something else.

The bottom line to not having a messy house is to not have the stuff readily available to mess it up with. Do nothing for your kiddo that he can do himself, don’t take that from him even if that means doing it with him hand over hand in the beginning…in the end he will be more confident and you will both have less chaos if you both know and follow through on the expectations. Always do things in the same order ” first get dressed, then put clothes in the dirty laundry” ect. this will help him become more independent and establish a habit.

Find out what your kiddo CAN do, what YOU can do to help him achieve those things and resolve that it WILL happen, if it takes a week or a year, fight for his independence and yours. Build in motivators in the areas you see him struggling.

For me when I decided we were moving into our tiny house I also had to take a long hard look at what we REALLY needed, it was tough but in the end it was a huge weight off my shoulders to have less stuff to be responsible for. Face it we parents of kiddos with special needs have a lot on our plates…it does become easier if we have fewer plates to clean. Less stuff and working hard at establishing good habits has been key for us and though we aren’t always successful we are a long way from where we were !

I hope these few tips have helped, I have many more where those came from so feel free to ask and to comment on things that have worked for your family. We all need to support each other because the job we have can be hard. I look forward to hearing from you all !!

Go Ahead !! Do It ! Whats Your Mess Today ??

The last month here at the tiny house has been happening at warp speed, there doesn’t seem to be any rhyme or reason to it. I was sitting here tonight watching Noah spinning around in circles, a Marvel character in each hand, scripting lines from the movie “Spider man” and teared up because that’s what happens to us autism parents sometimes, we just tear up because there is this wall between us and our kiddos that sometimes just seems impossible to hurdle. Really I just wanted to snuggle him and he just wanted to spin in circles and script, he didn’t want to be touched. Scripting is a big part of our lives, he hears or see something that impacts him and he mirrors it back, sometimes it’s entire movies,even in other languages other times its a phrase that shocked him, lately its been “shut the fuck up”, a phrase that he heard from another kid at school that has infiltrated his until now innocent scripts. Do you know what I want to hear ? I want to hear how my son feels about something, anything and know that it was his thought or idea I want to know what he thinks Warp speed I say !! The good bad and ugly. I’m writing this from so many lenses right now. I am a professional that hasn’t been able to work due to a shoulder injury. I am the sole supporter that doesn’t know where the next paycheck is coming from. I’m a church member who just found out her pastor has died. I’m a tiny house owner who has stepped outside of the normal to attain the dream of the stability of home ownership. I am a Christian who flails around in her walk. A mom that works hard to do her best for her children and often fails miserable more than succeeds. I’m a single woman who hasn’t given up on love but is terrified all at the same time. I’m a blogger who writes all this personal stuff about our lives for everyone to see simply in hopes that being a mess, being human will some how be the excepted norm so we no longer have to hide our messes, so maybe we will start to feel more alike than different and do our messes together. No one should have to bear the weight of the world on their shoulder out of fear of rejection or shame. I saw a post on Facebook yesterday that really ticked me off. The lady who wrote it was shaming mothers with ASD children for “complaining” about their children. It made me furious !! When a mother who is probably isolated due to the behavioral barriers of her child reaches out on social media to either find support of find a place to vent I applaud her because I know she hasn’t given up the fight, she’s looking for what she needs to do this another day. This lady would nail me to the cross !! As Ive said before, lets do this mess together ! As for me and my blog, if you want to jump on here and post what your struggling with today, you just go ahead and go for it, type away. You are welcome here with your messy self ! ūüôā

The Secret

I so totally thought I rocked the whole mommying thing this morning, we even made it out the door 5 minutes early, I had my bag, Noah had his bag and it was clean sailing to Mcdonalds to pick up Noahs daily breakfast burrito. We got to daycare, Noah kicks his boots off and only had one sock on. I shook my head gave him a hug and walked out the door still feeling pretty good about my super mommying abilities, I mean hey, if that’s the ONLY thing we forgot today we are still rocking it YEAH me !! I got to work determined to dive in and push through the pile on my desk. About 11 my belly started to rumble and I reached down into my bag and fumbled around trying to find my lunch, no luck, I picked it up , opened it looked in, dumped it upside down and nothing, just a bag full of sales receipts, non winning lottery tickets, gum wrappers and action figures, it seems my lunch¬†just disappeared. I decided to plow through a bit more work and then go down to my car, I was guessing it was probably just sitting on my seat. I got to my car and rummaged through the pile of ice coffee cups, toys, books, a pile of packages that needed to go to the post office and guess what ?! No lunch ! I remembered¬†putting in my bag !!¬†¬†Mysterious ! I headed to the post office on my lunch break and stopped for another ice coffee..it would just have to do.¬† With all that said my day has been good ! Its because I have a secret, a big secret , it could be good it could be¬† REAL good, it could be not so good but on this side of the secret is SOOOOO Exciting !! I walked in to meltdown central from work tonight¬† but even that couldn’t get me down ! This life in this tiny house, with my kiddo on the spectrum, with a God who is always in my corner is always full of surprises mostly unexpected. What’s my secret ? I’m not ready to tell yet but if you¬†stay tuned¬†long enough on this journey with us you are bound to find out no matter what happens !! I’m off to unplug my toilet.¬† Talk to you all soon¬† !!!