Once upon a time there was a big, overstuffed basket.  And next to it was a little girl, named Elizabeth.  Elizabeth did not like to see her Mom bring out the basket because when Mom brought it out, Elizabeth knew she would have to work.

Because in the basket, you see, were all the things that Mom was told Elizabeth needed to do and work on.  There was Theraputty in it, coloring books, thick crayons, special scissors as well as things for her mouth work, like whistles or a vibrating elephant.

Mom called  this time with the basket “Elizabeth’s work time”  and it meant that Elizabeth could not do anything else while working, just sitting with mom doing thing after thing. And truthfully, little Elizabeth really hated “work time.”

Nothing could stop her Mom, the basket and the “work time” until one day a very special therapist, named Mary,  taught Mom about something called Doing Everything With a Purpose.  This new thing meant that Mom did not have to do the work at a time specially announced and planned for.  It meant that Mom could do other things, regular things and, mom found out, still get done those things Mom was told to do.

Wow!  what a change for Mom!  And what a nice thing for Elizabeth and the family.  With this new way of thinking any trip to the park could get “work” done but still have fun. Life could just happen and the work could just be mixed in!

This wonderful Mary told Mom to see the activity, then think about how to get some “work” done while doing it.  Mom loved the idea but it was hard at first to see how playing bubbles on the driveway could be work.

That is until wonderful Mary told Mom:

-That teaching Elizabeth to open the bubbles is work.

-Teaching her to pour them carefully is work.

-Touching the bubbles is work.

-Swinging the bubble wand past her midline is work.

-Counting the swings of the wand is work.

Once Mom saw how this worked, she really wanted to think like this.  Now wonderful Mary did say that, of course, there would be times when work needs to be done at a table or in front of a book, but that life is work for our special needs children, so to mix up fun in it is great for them.

Little Elizabeth loved seeing Mom put the basket away and only bring it out for certain things.  And Mom loved only having work time for certain things.  It made things so much easier.

Mom got quite used to the new way of thinking and in fact has become really good at seeing things the way she has been taught to and little Elizabeth was quite the happy girl!

The End.

Now, little Elizabeth is not so little anymore, in fact, she is now 21 years old.  She and Mom have made quite a team through the years but wanted to share something that works for them because maybe it will be something that sounds good to you!

And especially when Spring break is coming and there will be time off from school.  May not be such a bad idea to try out this kind of thinking as you plan fun things with your family.

I wish everyone a peaceful week.

Michele Gianetti author of “I Believe In You: A Mother and Daughter’s Special Journey” and “Emily’s Sister