Having been in Egypt and moving here was a great move, but the most important question was; what is ahead of me? Coming from a different cultural, religious, social and economic nation to another can be traumatic and life changing. I didn’t really know what to expect from Bermuda. All I knew was everyone is able to speak English unlike in Egypt were not everyone could speak English as Arabic was the language of use. I also knew that the majority of the population was black. Everything else, I did not have a clue.
What would you expect when going to a different country for the first time, were you will be alone, knowing no one you know in that country? Imagine getting to a place which you like but haven’t experienced. Imagine going to a place were many people (relatives) don’t know about and yet you are adamant to go there. Imagine a place that has many sites to see, and so many interesting things, that you like. I was overwhelmed at first to here and with the transition.
As I look back at this experience, I figured this might be the same scenario for children with Autism. The transition of going from one place to the other can be a stress free event for most of us, but for these children it can be stressful. They are so overwhelmed by this transition, as I did, and the only way of dealing with this can be by screaming, biting themselves, ritualistic behaviors and “stubbornness’. Mind you, I wrote stubbornness in quotes. They would react in a non-function or socially unacceptable way. These children with Autism would find the event threatening and if not handled properly can result in a cascade of negative behavior and negative reinforcement.
When I came here, people were so welcoming, friendly, helpful, and supportive and with smiling faces. This is almost the same approach that might be useful in dealing with this transition; being friendly, nice and supportive to the children in this transition time, such as, moving from home to school, or hospital or church. You do not achieve much by being angry at them and by shouting. Be patient and support and this will be welcome to the child and in turn their development. Some times it takes several days or events for this to be fully integrated within the child’s system, but remember; patience pays.
It is also important to note that each child is unique and not all strategies works for everyone. The greatest assert you have is your observation of the child and trying to find what strategy works best for your child. Try to work with the child to find what will be best. During my first month here, I only went to the Aquarium which is one of the tourist areas, but I came to find out that some of my colleagues, who came at the same time as me, went to a whole lot of places around the island. This shows the uniqueness of individuals and how they interact with their environment to process sensory information. My excuse for not going to the other resort areas is, I have a lot of time here, so I will take each day as it comes. To tell the truth, I might have difficulties processing sensory information at a faster rate than my other colleagues so my strategy would be visiting one place at a time.
I guess everything in life has a link and you never know were you will get answers from. I hope this was useful and I hope I am providing information that is useful. On this note, CIAO.