I recently had a family reach out to me to help potty train and teach communication skills to their 11 year old daughter.
They also mentioned her serious addiction to her tablet. From the minute she got home from school, on any day off, and on weekends, she was glued to this device.
I asked them if they would be willing to do anything to see her out of diapers and communicating.
They said yes but then added a big BUT:
“But… We don’t want to do anything that will traumatize her or cause her to melt down… So if removing the iPad and using it as a reward is the way to get these skills then we would not be on board.”
I was absolutely shocked by this statement.
Not only was their child addicted to this electronic device… but THEY were as well!
They were using it as a distraction for their child so they didn’t have to deal with her behaviors while she was on it.
You might even say they were abusing the device…
…using it as a kind of “numbing agent” for their kid…
BUT… numbness and growth don’t go hand in hand.
We all know the addictive nature of our Smartphones and Tablets…
We know the damage these devices do when access is unrestricted and unsupervised to all children – not just those with autism…
That’s why I was so blown away when these parents said they wouldn’t be down with using the iPad as a reward… EVEN if it would help their daughter communicate and potty train!!
You can believe a meltdown is a traumatic experience you don’t want your child to endure…
You can be grateful that you have found something your child will do anything to have access to, including peeing in the toilet and communicating with you.
The longer you allow your child to be swept away in their devices, the more you are giving your power away to it, and the longer they will be in diapers and not communicating.
The reality is… The electronic devices you are “protecting” are actually robbing you of a relationship with your child… AND robbing your child of an independent life.
Every time you hand them the phone or watch them get lost in the tablet, you are both losing the opportunity to be connected to one another, and the child can’t interact with the outside world.
You lose the opportunity to teach, to laugh, to play together.
And your baby loses the opportunity to learn… and to bond with you on a meaningful parent/child level.
I believe time is the most valuable asset of all human beings.
Once it’s spent you can’t get it back.
None of us know how much time we have on this earth.
I consider my children, your children, our legacies, our Masterpieces in progress.
If you died tomorrow would you be happy with how you showed up and made decisions for your child with Autism today?
Every minute of every day is an opportunity to course correct.
What you decide today could ultimately dictate if your child will live an independent life tomorrow.
Do you want your child to learn important life skills that will move them one step closer to a life of independence, all the while creating memories of engagement with you while they are doing it?
Will they just remember the TV Shows they memorized on YouTube Kids?
The answer is up to you…
P. S. Remember, every minute is an opportunity to course correct.
The Families in my Champions for Our Children program have kids ranging from 2 to 30+… And when parents course correct, they see results! Book a call so I can hear all about your baby, tell you about the program and see if it makes sense to work together.
P.P.S. NOVEMBER IS ALMOST UPON US!!! And that’s my Julianna’s Birthday Month. Keep checking back as I want to celebrate her with you in a big way! Every child deserves to have the future Julianna will have, and I am going to show you how.