One of the attributes of kids with FASD is that they struggle with learning from (unnatural) consequences. Time-outs and loss of privileges don’t tend to change behavior. This is because most of the time, kids with FASD aren’t in control of the behavior the parent/educator is trying to change (impulse control issues, sensory processing issues, etc.). But what can be said about the neurotypical parent of the FASD kid who can’t learn from her mistakes?! Because we are signing M up for T-Ball! After being kicked out of gymnastics and dance because he couldn’t handle it, I am going to send him to try yet another sport/extracurricular activity (C’mon, ma, haven’t you learned your lesson yet?). See this post and this one for more details.
Here’s the thing, the kid loves baseball. Neither G or I likes the sport at all. It must be in his genes somewhere because it is not something he learned at home. I actually have horrid memories of spending hours and hours of my childhood bored to tears while my brothers played and practiced. The only good thing I remember about little league was the candy and sno-cones at the concession stand. I, myself, am not even a smidge athletically inclined so I never played. I still can’t catch a ball baseball-sized because of my lack of depth perception. Despite my dislike of little league, I do like to support M’s interests.
We drive by Dodgers stadium almost everyday, usually twice a day. The shortcut to preschool goes right past the gates. M talks quite a bit about someday being a Dodger. He even has a cheer that he has written for his future fans to yell while he is at bat. M and M2 will chant the cheer as we drive past the stadium and I love the hope in this future dream. We have a tee and bats and balls at home that we play and practice with often.
I know my boy pretty well and I already know where he will struggle. He most likely will do a good job waiting his turn to bat and also will do a good job playing the field. He has a good attention span and as long as the other kids are doing a good job waiting their turn, he will follow the lead of his peers. Here’s the part that makes me nervous, can M handle being tagged “out”? Probably not, if we don’t prepare him. I can already see the scenario in my head. M as an angry boy refusing the “out”, probably kicking and hitting those in his way and then running away refusing to ever step foot on a field again. Our original plan was to role play getting tagged out and practice going through the actions of how we act when we get tagged out. AND we would do this over and over and over again. We asked M2’s therapist about this, he is an expert in preschool FASD techniques. He suggested that before we even try to practice, he needs to understand the rules of baseball. He also suggested that we get some books to prepare him for what to expect in the game. I went to Amazon and picked these out:
So here’s our plan:
- Start reading the books at home. Paying particular attention to the parts of the game that might be hard for him.
- Watch some T-Ball videos on YouTube so that he can see what kids are supposed to do when they get tagged out.
- Practice in the park as a family, giving him a script to use when he gets tagged out. (First we will model the behavior.)
- If all goes well, we will send him to T-Ball practice and see how it goes.
I am also ready, this time, to call it quits if it is not going well. This amount of planning and preparing are just parts of being a parent of a kid with special needs. We can’t just expect that things will go well. They won’t. We need to set our kid up for success. If we’ve tried our best and things don’t go well, it is also our job to make sure that it is not causing M to feel like a failure. This is why step 4 is so important. If he can’t do it while we are practicing, then he probably can’t do it when he is on the field. We will sacrifice the $40 sign up and try again when he is a bit older.
M, at 2 years old, first time swinging a bat.