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  • Writer's pictureChristine McCarty


Change is inevitable and can be extremely difficult for all of us. No one knows that better than a special needs parent/caregiver. It is my belief that transitions are more challenging for a special needs child as they lack control over so many things in their life. In other words, they find comfort and solace in consistency.

In Addy’s case, she lacks control over her ability to speak – with her apraxia, she knows what she wants to say, but it’s often difficult for her to vocalize it. Therefore, she clings to control over her routine. In turn, she craves control over how and when she transitions into any new schedule or activity (e.g., from summer to school).

When her schedule changed in the past, Addy would have meltdowns or even refuse to do the new activity because it was an alteration to her routine. However, to set her up for success in life, we must teach her how to handle change and/or transitions. As we all know, variations in routine/schedule are merely part of life so Addy must learn to cope with the uncertainty and curve balls life will inevitably throw her. These are life skills we must instill in her upbringing…

So how do we accomplish this feat? First, we started making small changes to her routine at home where she felt safe and comfortable. We gave her choices regarding the changes so felt some sort of control. For example:

  • Addy would wear the same bow for weeks on end.

  • I even bought two just in case we lost one to avoid a meltdown.

  • That said, how was I preparing her for life by mitigating the risk adversity

  • So, one morning, I took out two new bows and told her she could choose from the two new bows.

  • The meltdown was horrific! In fact, it lasted almost 30mins. I didn’t think either one of us was going to survive.

  • I held my ground and eventually she chose one of the new bows.

From then on, we started changing things little by little, giving her choices, and making each change/transition bigger and bigger each time. I can’t believe I am writing this, but it worked! Her meltdowns don’t happen and if she gets upset, she has figured out a way to control her fear of change/transitions.

In conclusion, we all face changes in our lives. In fact, in teaching Addy, I’m also teaching myself that change is inevitable.

Much love,

Raising Addy

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