Let’s face it… the world we live in is not going to accommodate us, so we need to make sure that we are able to cope in a dynamic world as it continues to change. This is exactly what I help families achieve.
Pretty much most situations, experiences and events that take place in our life every day changes on a moment-to-moment basis. How we cope with them and how we deal with them is what can determine our quality of life. Take for instance driving; a very dynamic situation that many of us adults can relate to. It can be so challenging learning how to drive. We need to apply our dynamic intelligence to the max when it comes to all the different aspects of driving from how to physically get the car going to keeping an eye on the road, and listening to the instructor whilst trying to keep your cool and do the best you can. Its hard work, and I remember when I was learning to drive years ago, it was extremely tiring and quite stressful. For those of you who are curious I passed my test and can drive very well now, and multi – task listening to the radio whilst having a conversation too (except for when I am parking the car, that’s a different story). So now I have the driving competence under my belt, I still cannot control what the roads, other drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, traffic works, diversions and accidents will lead to, and that is where I have to apply my dynamic intelligence on an ongoing basis. This is just every time I get into the car, out of the car there are multiple dynamic situations that are dealt with, including every interaction.
So what has any of this got to do with autism? I hear you ask!
Well, a lot actually because if you can imagine what it felt like when you were in a situation like that, where you didn’t feel competent and were faced with a number of uncertainties and you just didn’t know what could jump out in front of you or what the next thing you have to deal with was, you will begin to have some understanding of what it is like for a person with autism living in a dynamic world.
You see, we all have different thresholds of dealing with dynamic situations and for some this can vary enormously to others. As parents we deal with plenty of dynamic situations and for many parents it is possible (albeit hard work) to stay on top of everything and sometimes it just all becomes TOO MUCH! And that ‘too much’ is the tipping point and what we do at that point is very telling in how we deal with dynamic situations, it is where our dynamic intelligence steps up and makes decisions, breaks it down, calms us down, and works through logistically and pulls on previous experiences that we have been through before that are similar to help us succeed. Or it is where we experience the flight, fight or freeze reactions to the situation we are in because we do not feel we can deal with it. If we are able to apply our dynamic intelligence competently we are less likely to get overwhelmed and stressed out, this includes stopping, pausing and taking moments to think about our actions, our choices and our decisions.
Now, I think you will be getting the link between what this means for your own child. So far I hope you can recall a time where you have had to use your dynamic intelligence, realised that we all have different thresholds of dealing with dynamic situations and maybe understood it in your own behaviour and possibly recognised this in your own child. So you may come to the conclusion that dynamic intelligence is important and the good news is can be developed and improved!
So now what?!
I told you the world isn’t going to compensate for those that struggle in dynamic situations and its getting more and more dynamic too, so we have two options; 1 – help children cope better through compensations, 2 – develop dynamic intelligence by following a developmental pathway.
Now before I list some ways to help children cope better in a dynamic world, you must understand that these ideas will merely be compensations and will not help to work on the core of the struggles. Ideally these should be short-term compensations and go hand in hand whilst developing dynamic intelligence. Developing the dynamic intelligence is what contributes to a better long-term quality of life, short-term compensations help the immediate quality of life become easier to deal with while addressing the core difficulty.
Ways to help children cope better in an ever changing world:
· Visual schedules to reduce anxiety and know what is coming up next
· Creating a safe space to escape to
· Establishing a way to say “I need a break/ to be alone”
· Make choices from two options
· Prompted through situations
· Social stories
· Calming activities
· Regular routines
Developing dynamic intelligence
· Adding very slight differences to existing routines
· Adding variations to existing interactions
· Providing just enough support that the child can feel competent
· Experiencing new situations
· Experiencing new people
· Experiencing a new route
· Doing things very slightly differently just enough to be noticeable but not to create chaos
The two lists above are of just a few ideas that you can do and for some children it will be too much and for others can take on more, each child really varies.
Dynamic situations are subjective but include anything that requires moment-to-moment analysis and ongoing change, this is most situations and experiences in life and particularly interaction. Interactions are generally so dynamic because you just don’t know what the next person is going to say or do in response to your actions and then following on from that you can choose absolutely anything in how you decide to respond to them.
There are so many things that can be considered as helping a person improve their quality of life from developing speech to self help skills, learning to cook and interacting with others to developing relationships and holding down a job that provides good job satisfaction with friends in life and no fear of going out. Essentially these all come down to dynamic intelligence and dynamic analysis as the route of the ability. Considering this is one of the biggest challenges children and adults with autism face, this is what we should prioritise in terms of where our attention goes to improve dynamic intelligence. If you would like to learn more about how to support your child with this through the RDI® programme then please contact me to arrange a time to discuss at firstname.lastname@example.org