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Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Ups and Downs of Running

We are still running. Jared and I have managed to get the first month out of the way. Two more months to go before his little marathon and if we do all the running required through his club, we will have run almost a whole marathon.

Mentally, I hate it. Physically, I am liking it. I won't use the term love, because that feels a little sadistic. I do find that my body gets the urge to go for a run and then the inner conflict begins. Most of the time I find I am getting my running shoes on so we know who's winning. This weekend I was down with a cold that consumed my entire being. I stayed in. I was a tad disappointed.

Running with Jared has taught me how important it is to be consistent in my parenting of him. One of the things we have found effective is "pre-teaching" or prepping Jared for his activities. What this entails is talking about the upcoming activity and discussing the ways he is going to get through the activity to make it as successful as possible. A challenge that comes with Autism is the struggle to know how to interpret situations and how to respond to them.

When it comes to running, Jared MUST be out front. He pushes himself to exhaustion, collapses, then continues to collapse in a gesture of total frustration. When I coach him that it doesn't matter who is first and it doesn't matter who is last and the only person he needs to worry about is himself so he should just run at a pace that will allow him to finish, he does very well. I run with him and keep reminding him of the rules. When those rules are not forefront in his mind and he gets away from me, we have a disaster in the making.

Even if we have a successful run one day, if I don't prep him for the next run we will have less success if any at all. It has become apparent to me that it takes many pre-teaching sessions on the same issues before he can go out on his own and complete a task independently.

It's exhausting at times. It feels redundant at times. It's a challenge much of the time. We have the ADHD to contend with too.

My hope is that during our last two months of running club, Jared will learn to pace himself and complete these runs with less prepping from me. I am hoping that he will learn to focus on his performance only and not worry about who is in front. These are issues we all struggle with, but for those who struggle with Autism the challenge is often their own personal Mt. Everest.

I do see this as a challenge Jared can overcome in time, and then we add it to the success arsenal to help him move ahead with the challenges ahead.


Nancy said...

Good for you for keeping up with the running. It sounds like it has been a learning experience for both of you. Keep going!! I heard recently from a teacher I work with that being outdoors is really good for kids with ADHD. He was recommending this book- maybe you'd be interested-

Last child in the woods : saving our children from nature-deficit disorder

daring one said...

You are one impressive mama. I love the way you think about your parenting in everything you do. And the running ain't bad either.