We often come up with and need to come up with ‘projects’ that will help our son access new things, even everyday things, try them out, and hopefully find something he really enjoys doing. We have been through many things, most of which are eagerly accepted initially, but in many cases, interest is lost and we need to move on to find something else. In time we hope to return to some as he has shown a real talent for them.
The importance of activity is to hold his mind in focus, so that fear, uncertainty and perceived recollections of darker days, are kept at bay. Using principles of Mindfulness, we try and engage totally in the activity, holding the moment and exploring what we see, hear and feel.
This particular project is based around photography. We look to set up the ‘shot’ together, talking about what we see in the frame, what colours do we see? what are we focusing the camera on? and what we can call the resulting image. We touch the textures of the leaves and petals, some we will smell to check the perfume – we like Lavender and Mint – our cat likes Nepeta! In this particular shot, we also dip a finger in the pond, is the water warm or cold? does it have ice on top? can we see any little creatures in it? The beauty of this project is that we can return to the pot each month and see the changing flowers and colours, giving something new to talk through. This picture was named ‘The February Garden’ allowing us a twelve-month project of ever changing flowers.The resulting pictures can form an entry in a photo album, creating a social story that we can refer to at a later date to rekindle positive memories and recollections of a positive activity.
We manage no more than an hour and then we need to change activity to keep interest and motivation high. Awareness of doing too much is critical, as frustration or confusion can kick in suddenly and the work to create a positive activity will be lost immediately and may not get returned to. We have had to leave many things undone or incomplete, but this is far better than the emotional and anxiety based consequences of sticking with it. Those mistakes we have made, and we still make.
The importance of activity must be accompanied by the importance of understanding and awareness. Correctly balanced, and everything is possible.