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Poky Processing

"It's time to go, put on your shoes." "Buddy, I need you to put on your shoes." Do you feel like you are repeating yourself constantly some days? or maybe most days? Sometimes this is just typical child development, but for many kids from hard places it can be daily struggle. For parents and caregivers, it can be a source of frustration. So, let's see if we can hash it out a bit.

The processing that we are talking about today is in reference to when you give an instruction or direction or even a response to a question from your child. This is often referred to as auditory processing. Processing speed is the pace at which you take in information, make sense of it, and begin to respond. Everyone processes information at different rates of speed. For kids from hard places, we know that processing language is hard for them. That's why we use a lot of picture/word schedules, it gives them information but it doesn't require processing language. There are a lot of factors that could be impacting your child's ability to process information in any given moment. Being tired, hungry, thirsty, feeling disconnected, distracted or maybe a secondary diagnoses of some kind.

We, as the parent(s)/caregivers(s) need to remember to give them TIME to process. This is NOT easy, especially when there are places to be or tasks to be accomplished. However, there is learning that can happen in that space.

Recently, our son had an interaction with his cousin that required some correcting. We had been camping and we were preparing to go home. Lots of packing up and the two kiddos were playing. He got his feelings hurt when she laughed at him about something and he then smacked her on the head. In TBRI fashion, we intervened immediately. He sat with me by his side and shared his version of the story and she shared hers. This "time in" was used to reteach "use your words" and "keep your hands to yourself". He needed to walk through a "redo" and apologize, but he refused. Here's where it can get tricky. As the adult, I had my own timeline and of course I wanted to move through this process quickly so I could get back to packing. But, we had tired kids on our hands as well as kids who weren't really thrilled that we were heading home, hence the altercation in the first place. I had to really regulate myself over the course of the next 20 minutes. I tried hard at first to "make him" redo.....You can imagine how that went, and I was the miserable one. I semi-quickly realized that I needed to give him space to regulate and process what he knew he needed to do. This was not play time, he was sitting in the car with the doors open and holding onto his toy dragon. I kept working on packing up the car, so I was still in the space he was in. Once I did that,he initiated the apology and the redo on his own. Don't get caught in the power struggle, give them time to process. This is NOT letting it go or ignoring, the work still has to be done, the teaching still has to occur but it just may take longer than you think or want it to.

If it's shoes that need to be put on, then maybe giving a prompt like putting his /her shoes in front of them or the ever popular " Can you get your shoes on before I count to 10?" In space you will often find success.

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