Timing is Everything: Planning a Trip and When to Tell Elizabeth

So how do we handle or decide how to tell Elizabeth something that might be stressful to her?

Timing is everything!

I will let you know what we have done most recently.  But to give a bit of context, my husband and I decided to go on a vacation for 3 days to see our oldest daughter in Colorado.

We are so excited to see her and where she has been living for 2 years!  

But as with all trips, be them long or even overnight, there is a lot of planning to do.

And if you have special needs in your life, the planning takes just a bit more effort and more of my brain space.

Now back to what we did to plan this well for Elizabeth.

First we needed to find someone to be there for her.  It would be wrong to say baby sit, so because she is an adult and my son is just an adult at 18, we say we have found “just a good set of eyes.”

In this case, we are the ones leaving, and she is staying, so we do have to tell her and help her prepare for the changes in her week.  And for those of you who don’t know, my daughter Elizabeth has special needs. She has SPD (Sensory Processing Disorder) and Global Dyspraxia. Both of these disorders affect her life each and every day.  And due to these disorders, she can feel more anxiety than most about changes such as a trip that SHE is going on or when she was younger, her first day of school.

And this means the question of when is the right time?  To tell her too soon allows the anxiety to build and it can become a point of focus for her. But to tell her too close to the time and she does not have enough time to process it and feel okay as she approaches the date. 

So we made the plan to gently introduce it about 3 weeks out from our day of leaving.

We put it on a calendar for her to see. 

We talked about the things she’ll do with our friend who is staying. The “babysitter who she adores” or “The good set of eyes”
We told her what she would do after we got home.

 And we talked to her about any emotions she had about this time we are going away.

I know that the work that we have done prior, whether it is our chat times or maybe the higher level thinking questions, have really helped lay the groundwork for her ability to chat through emotions, and handle things better.  This has gotten even better as she has gotten older.
Don’t get me wrong. She needed several chat times the week prior to us going.

And, we still have those tough moments when she’s overloaded. And cannot handle one more thing.

 But overall, I can see such good growth. 

So those are the things that think it did make a difference again. 

Timing is everything. 

And as I have always said. I am not an expert on anyone except my child so you will know what your child needs best.

I will let you know next month just how she was on our return.

I wish everyone a peaceful month.

Michele Gianetti

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