I THOUGHT the appointment I had the other day was going to be a short wait to be seen. So I had mentally prepared for that. Turns out, the wait was A LOT longer than I had prepared for. I could feel myself getting a bit antsy. I had planned things after the appointment that I was now getting real close to having to cancel or at the least move around

I had to adjust my expectation with my reality.

I had plans with my friend for lunch. She was going to come over at 12:30 and I was going to pick up lunch. I planned my day around this and had mentally scheduled my work time and all the other things I needed to do for before picking up lunch. Then she texted at 8:00 am and said she didn’t feel well.

Again, I adjusted my schedule.

We all do this right? We have something planned that gets moved. Expectations that are different than what we really have. Or events that you think will go one way and they go another.

It is all an adjustment to this thing called life. We don’t always like it but we can do it.

I have to say for me, having certain shared expectations helps me because I can plan better and help Elizabeth with her schedule as well.

Something I learned by, well, life with Elizabeth is that a schedule/planner helps her so much as she plans her week/events/work/time with friends.

It helps because she can see the days of the week as well as the times that say her art lesson is… We can then set an alarm for a few minutes before the lesson for her transition time.

It works for us.

Something I learned in an article I just read and that might be helpful as the holidays approach is the need to talk to your special needs child about your expectation for them during an event. By expectation, I don’t mean being polite or say not hitting their younger sibling or playing catch with a dinner role. What I mean is communicating to your child in the way the best understand what they need to do for the event. How long they need to participate before they can go to a quiet place or what needs to happen before they can watch a show or that they need to sit through say dinner and can be excused at dessert time.

The goal is to let them know what will happen in the event/get together—–They will know what to expect.

The goal is to let them know the concrete things they need to do and can see or be told when those things have happened and they can have time to themselves.

The goal is to make the event manageable as there will not be surprises to adjust for.

They have a plan.

You have a plan.

And if they feel they are struggling, they know that they do not have to try to stay past a certain, prearranged point.

I have to tell you I did this with Elizabeth, who by her very nature, just loves a party but can be singing to the heavens that she is so happy that everyone is coming and on and on UNTIL the party starts and her SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) will allow anxiety to come in and she gets to an overload quickly. So when we had something special for Michael, we talked it through in specifics and what was expected and when she was “free to go”

And it worked so well.

I offer this out because the holidays can be challenging in and of themselves and any tools we can use to help us help our children are priceless and any tools we have that can help our children ENJOY the event is priceless as well.

So hard to believe we are at about one week and counting!

I hope everyone has a lot of good memory making time together.

I wish everyone a peaceful week. Please wear a mask and get vaccinated/boosted!

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