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The right approach to learning

autism parenting education Jul 23, 2019

This summer, I've been listening to business podcasts while I take my morning walks. This morning, I heard a great business concept that can be applied to autism parenting.

The concept was "learn and do" versus "do and learn."

The first idea, learn and do, is the traditional way people approach success. It requires training from someone who shows you exactly what to do. Then, once you've learned the strategy or task, you do it. 

This business concept worked well back when the world moved at a slower pace. This was before our current era of relatively quick technology adoption, global economies, social media and market of one service. 

Today's world requires a more nimble approach. One size does not fit all and even if it does, it doesn't last for long.

That's why the concept of do and learn is more effective. Yes, you begin with some idea of what you're doing. You might even receive some training before you begin.

But that's not the end of your learning experience. As you do the thing, you must constantly be aware of what is working and what isn't. You must be willing to make tweak or even admit defeat and change direction.

You must embrace that life isn't constant and things happen that are beyond your control, like disruption. Instead of clinging to what worked in the past, you must let go and bravely move forward, excited to participate in the process of change. 

A growth mindset is required for success.

Parenting an autistic child is a lot like making it in today's business environment. 

First of all, one size does not fit all. What works for one child might not work for yours. Or if it does, you may need to put your own spin on it. The only way to know for sure is to do and learn.

Second, children are always growing and changing. Ask any parent whose child is on prescription medication. Just when you get the dosage right, it's wrong again.

Do and learn.

The same goes for education. For us, public school was great ... until it wasn't. Right now, we are loving homeschooling, but as Tosh continues to develop better attention, academic and social skills, and as his problems with aggression continue to decrease, he might return to the classroom.

Do and learn.

Therapy needs also change. About the time Tosh masters the behaviors needed to succeed in school and in public, he may develop more awareness about how he's different from neurotypical peers. Maybe he'll need emotional counseling. Or maybe not. Who knows?

Do and learn is required for special needs parenting - heck, all parenting - because when it comes to kids, the only constant is change.


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