I love Sam…honestly I think I could adopt this little cherub with his cheeky grin and button nose…however he is one of THE most stubborn children I have ever taught! When he sticks his heels in and says ‘No!’ It really can become extremely frustrating and takes forever to get through to him and for him to come around.
However until today I have been able to snap him out of it with some playful ‘coochycoo’ language to make him smile. Once he smiles I know I have him and then the world is a happy place once again.
However today the ‘coochycoo’ just wasn’t going to cut it for darling Little Sam.
After almost 20 mins of trying to get him off the computer to go to his music lesson…I was getting nowhere and my frustration levels were rising, and I could feel myself wanting to yell at him. But ofcourse I knew this would just make matters worse as poor Sam comes from a home where he is yelled at alot and often physically abused by his father (who also has special needs)…so that strategy was well and truly off the cards and my ‘teacher bag of tricks’ was totally and utterly bare!!
What to do? If I give up and just let him stay this will quite possibly create a new pattern of behaviour. Everytime he doesn’t want to go somewhere he can sit on the computer, say ‘No’ and will get to have some fun. My only other option would be to phycially remove him…which would create a struggle, end in anger, time-out and unhappiness all round for us both.
Out of pure desperation to try and get through to him I started to talk to his tummy… ‘excuse me Mr Tum, are you feeling a bit sad today?’
To my surprise…the tummy talked back to me and said ‘Yes’ (through Sam) Hallejulah! At least I was getting something other than ‘NO’.
I continued talking to the tum. ‘Why are you sad Mr Tum?’
‘Because Sam is making bad choices’ was the reply.
‘Do you think that Sam might be able to make a good choice and go to music?’
‘Yes’ was the reply…and then the smile came…PHEW!!
‘Would Mr Tum like a cuddle?’
‘Yes.’ so I gave him a cuddle and he held my hand and we went to music. On the way Mr Tum then proceeded to say ‘Hello’ to everyone we met. We were met with a strange look by staff but once I told then that ‘his tummy is talking to them as we seem to be having more of a chance of getting through to the tum than the head today’, they all went along with it and said ‘hello’ back.
I guess this was a perfect example of using your ‘gut instinct’.
Children, especially special needs children really do amaze me everyday…and are constantly pushing me to think outside the box and re-evaluate my personal reactions to being frustrated…next time I feel this way, I might just sit down and have a good long talk with my own tum and see what happens? (I will try and do this in the privacy of my own home though).