Monday, July 11, 2016

Overcoming fears

While driving him to chess camp this morning, I talked to Graham a little about getting on the floating docks out on the lake. In the past, Graham has ascribed his aversion to doing so in terms of the ickiness of the algae on their underside.  Fair enough.

So I brought it up to him and told him that I didn't think they were so icky underneath anymore and that, in any case, the algae wasn't really going to hurt him anyway. Then he said that his concerns were not so much for the ickiness, but for the feeling of uncertainty being on the floating docks engendered in him (because they move around), and for his fears about getting off of them. He didn't like jumping off of them, and he certainly didn't like diving off of them, because he didn't like diving off of anything.

And this is where I realized that I have substantial fathering work to do on this score, the managing of uncertainty and risk-taking.  I have seen Graham make real progress on this front in terms of going down hills on a bike or a sled, but in bodies of water it's another thing. One problem is his insistence on wearing goggles. I can't get him past that, and that puts a damper on diving.  But I think I can get him to jump more vigorously while holding the goggles.

Obviously his autism is an issue here, I need to dig into that and figure out how and how much.

In the car I upset him a little, he cried a tad, but I assured him I just wanted to work with him to help him overcome his fears because that's what parents do.  With Natalie out of town for debate camp for a couple of weeks, that offers Mary and me an opening to focus on Graham.

Then I took him into the chess center and he walked right in, found another kid, introduced himself, and invited the other kid to play a game.  Which is itself huge progress.

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