Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Positive Stories

Last night we had a team meeting at our house, one of those delightful gatherings that gets all (or almost all) of Joy's baristas (intensive autism line therapists) in one place at one time, together with me & JoyDad & Lynda the Wonder Woman daycare lady.

These are remarkably productive meetings when we keep them on track. The biggest thing that threatens to derail them occasionally is that everybody gets too involved in the very first agenda item...

The first agenda item is positive stories.

I love starting meetings this way, and I love the fact that people have SO many positive Joy-stories to tell, that it threatens to take up too much of the meeting sometimes!

Last night's positive stories included:
  • Joy ate an entire helping of cut-up spaghetti & red sauce -- with her fork. With almost no guidance.

  • When one of her baristas was playing pillow-squish game with her, and saying a big ol' "Squish!" each time the pillow came down, Joy several times echoed the unusual sound "KW".

  • At daycare, Joy was in her chair at the table playing with a puzzle, something that's usually not a big turn-on for her. Another child decided to be "helpful" and came over to take over, pulling pieces out of Joy's hand and putting them in the puzzle. And Joy, instead of checking out on the interaction, got mad, tried to hold on to the pieces, even succeeded in getting some back!

  • Joy imitated monkey-noises, "oo-ahh-ahh-ahh".

  • The "high-five" that we've worked into Joy's greeting and bye-bye routines has caught on like wildfire. It's such a charming way that she can interact that feels "normal" to people, and they respond with such delight. She high-fived the sheriff's deputy who came to change her Project Lifesaver battery, and a whole bunch of folks at church. Plus she high-fives Rose, who is a model of patience in holding her hand at the ready and waiting for Joy to come through with that high-five.

Once we've got a good foundation of positive stories to build on, it's ever so much easier to bring out the challenges, like how do we deal with Joy's grass-pulling and rotten-apple-eating in the yard? (we're going to try to provide stretchy-sequin bands, which have helped at daycare) or how do we deal when she's pingpong-ing around and won't slow down long enough to interact (sometimes it's calming to get her sitting in the high-chair, notched down to its lowest setting near the floor.)

Positive stories. Didn't I just mention recently how much I like them?

P.S. Here are some positive stories from me. This morning I went running again (OK, alternating walk with slow-jog) for the first time since I broke my toe last month. It felt fine. And, I interviewed yesterday for the university program I was talking about the other day, that would take my plate-spinning to a whole 'nother level. I don't think I've ever been so relaxed and confident in an interview before. The program feels RIGHT for me. Now the committee just has to agree! I should find out Thursday which way the decision tips.


Anonymous said...

I'll be looking for that positive JM story on Thursday.

My positive story - Joy allows her mom to blog. I really appreciate that!


kia (good enough mama) said...

Yay! Positive stories are the best kind. I'm so glad that you and Joy have so many to speak of!

jess wilson said...

this post reads like a breath of fresh, clean mountain air .. thank you so much for sharing all the good stuff!!!!

mama edge said...

I'm positive you'll be wonderful at this new endeavor!

Anonymous said...

positive stories at the beginning of a meeting - what a great idea! what a way to set the tone! love it.
rhema high-fives as a greeting as well, and I love that when prompted she will high-five anyone now. way back when i first started blogging i wrote a post about high-fives.

pixiemama said...

Sending you ALL a big old high five!

Joymama - your positive attitude is a wonderful example to me.

datri said...

love it, love it, love it!

JoyDad said...

We are very thankful that we have so many positive things to share around the table at the team meetings. I know not every family is so fortunate...

It isn't always easy raising a Joy, but we could have it a whole lot worse.

lonestar said...

I love it!

High-fives have been great for helping our kids learn to interact too :).