Wednesday, 27 July 2016

WonderfulWednesday: Caring for plants to teach being gentle

Wonderful Wednesday autism image

This week's wonderful Wednesday share is from Yogarden on Instagram and is about caring for plants.  Now I'm not a plant person, or a yoga person actually and I'm not even in Instagram, but I saw a tweet that said "...help children learn to be gentle" and I clicked.

Sensory difficulties in kids with autism are very common.  They cover all the senses and can range from squinting on days with the tiniest bit of sun to screaming in pain because the bath water is slightly warmer than expected.  Sensory difficulties can also mean searching for feedback like enjoying really smells or a desperate desire to be in contact with things.

Anthony squeezes a pencil and writes with huge pressure he often tears the paper because he just can't feel it properly.  With both our boys and particularly with Anthony who also has a diagnosis of ADHD, this means they can be pretty physical.  Play is rough, hugs are rough as they seek to feel... the feeling.

But it's not always appreciated or practical.  It would be better if Anthony didn't hurt people when he hugged them and could take a note without tearing the paper.  So, along with helping these brain pathways develop through practice we encourage him to 'think about being gentle'.  And this I realised is a wonderful way to do that. 

You never know where inspiration will come from and this beautiful photo on Instagram brought it to us.   Grandma has helped us plant beans and tomatoes this summer. We are going to try and take care of them and then be gentle and pick them together.  I'll let you know how we get on.

Yogarden is an early childhood learning centre based in West Orange, NJ.  Look at Yogarden's Instagram for more ideas.

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