Sunday, June 13, 2010

More reflections on MOMMY RADAR

I thought I had my mommy radar in check. I thought that my own self-awareness of the mommy radar I have with my child w/ autism was in an appropriate place. I thought that I've not been using it as much.

Then, at a disability awareness event, I was given a set of EAR PLUGS and a pair of NOISE CANCELING HEADPHONES to wear. My child with autism was given the same items. We were to interact with one another from a perspective of a disability - and each of us were assigned a hearing impairment.


I was amazed at the self-awareness I discovered. I rely heavily on listening to my daughter.

I used to watch her all the time, and I knew that my enhanced mommy radar was keeping her from being responsible for watching those around her. Her experience was, "I don't have to check in visually to make sure I'm with Mom in the grocery store; Mom watches me and reminds me when I'm too far away." Or, "I don't have to check in visually to make sure Mom is listening when I'm talking because Mom is so in tune to me."

I was creating and contributing to learned helplessness. I had to learn to watch her closely, yet disguise my radar and pretend that I wasn't always watching her. I had to shift what she should be responsible for - in terms of attention, paying attention, sharing attention, shifting attention -over to her.

During this disability awareness assignment, when a good deal of my hearing was shut off by ear plugs and head phones, I realized that instead of watching her all the time, I simply switched senses. I began listening to her more closely. I realized that she counted on me to be listening more than I imagined. Our parent/child dance includes her counting on my listening to her! And my not being able to hear little things, like her footsteps, to tell me if she'd wandered in another direction, raised my anxiety and made me want to monitor her more closely with my vision, a compensation of one sense by another.

I've begun to make adjustments again. Oh, I still watch her closely. And I still listen closely. I pretend not to, though. I'm trying to refrain from acting on my radar in situations where my daughter can take responsibility for her own watching and listening (attention sharing, attention shifting).

I'm a work in progress.

I blogged about mommy radar HERE and HERE.

1 comment:

Stranded said...

What a great idea to not listen to each other and try to read each other's body language.

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