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How to help a child learn to cope with waiting.

Life is fast. We live in a culture which expects things to be done instantly. It seems hard to imagine waiting for a DVD to be sent rather than downloading instantly, or hiring a film from a shop instead of pressing a button to access it straight away.

There are elements of this instant fast paced society that benefit neurodivergent mindsets as it plays into our impulsivity. I am, and have always been, bad at waiting and I count down to everything.

Waiting can feel physically and emotionally painful at times. People may think it's a person being selfish or acting spoilt, but it's not. When your brain works at such a fast pace, you need everyone else to work at that same pace. Unfortunately, despite the world becoming faster, in a lot of instances it still isn't fast enough for an autistic/ADHD brain.

Learning to wait can be a valuable lesson and it also enables neurodivergent children (and adults) to learn a positive life skill. This often requires a lot of support though, so that the tension of waiting doesn't become stress which then becomes overload.

I recently sent Danielle’s son a DVD. He was incredibly excited and the level of anticipation could easily have tipped him over into dysregulation. The way to make this succeed was to give him information and updates which when dealing with the postal service is quite a challenge. You don’t want to make assurances that can’t be met. The certainty was that I had posted the DVD and purchased a 3 day service.

I made a short video of me walking to the post box and posting the DVD through the slot. I also photographed the package so he could see it was addressed correctly.

Thankfully the post didn’t let us down and the DVD arrived in a couple of days, during which time i sent a couple of emails reminding him I had sent the package just as reassurance.

Waiting isn’t always easy but it is easier to learn it with support.

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