The topic of competency has come up several times with many different families over the past few weeks. This has made me pause to think more about how it is we build competency in children. Feelings of incompetency manifest themselves in many different ways depending on the person, but in general there is some telling sign that a person is not feeling competent.
Building moments of competency is a key to success for children and families working on remediating autism through CORE Approach. Over the past few weeks I have seen this lack of competency show up as passivity, frustration, refusal, and even meltdown. After exploring the root of what is causing the child to feel incompetent it tends to come down to the adults needing to slow down, scaffold, reduce the amount of talking and establish regulation. For some children building competence can begin by finding something that they are good at and having them teach the adult. This allows the adult to spotlight all the moments of competence. Sometimes starting with nice easy activities and really spotlighting the child’s ability to stay regulated or accomplish small pieces of the task can really boost their feelings of competence. This might be something like taking a walk with your child and spotlighting for them the ability to stay with you during the walk. It might be carrying a basket of laundry together and spotlighting along the way how strong he is or how much it helps to have two people carrying the basket. By spotlighting all of the little ways your child is competent you are building a bank of moments that he can draw on in the future.
Finding ways to spotlight moments of competence can sometimes seem difficult, but if you start thinking about competence as being anything your child does well (even smiling at you can be spotlighted) it may not be so hard. I encourage you to find a few small moments each day to spotlight your child’s competence.
Talk to you soon,