A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Practice Makes Perfect {Preparing Big Brother}

Friday, July 5, 2013

Practice Makes Perfect {Preparing Big Brother}

One of our big concerns when deciding to have baby #2 was how Shaun would handle the baby. My boy, sweet as he is, is also very hyper and even aggressive at times. Not in a malicious way, he just simply doesn't have the self control when he gets excited and doesn't always understand the concept of being gentle. With a newborn, we knew this could be a struggle for all of us! So, as soon as we knew baby was on the way, we started working with him on how to be gentle and calm with babies. In an effort to help with this, his Nana bought him a doll to practice with. He named her 'Finley Plush'.

'Finley Plush' has been a wonderful tool for Shaun! We have used the doll to practice gentle touches, how to hold the baby, how to change diapers (a chore he enthusiastically looks forward to helping with), and much more. He also makes sure that anytime a new baby product arrives, she tests it out for his real sister. (He has even made me lug the carseat with us shopping, Finley Plush buckled and ready!) Shaun, like many kids on the spectrum, is a very visual learner. Merely telling him, 'You have to be gentle with baby' or 'This is where baby sleeps', etc can often go in one ear and out the other. Having the visual aid of the doll has helped to truly show him and prepare him for baby sister's arrival.

Here are a few photos of Big Brother Shaun practicing:





Though he does still get a little rough at times, I do believe he has begun to realize that his real sister will be much more fragile. Watching him learn and interact with his practice doll has certainly helped put my mind at ease as well. I am sure there will be times when he does get a little overly excited or forget his boundaries and we will be very watchful of that. However, I also know that he will love his baby sister and be a huge help in taking care of her as he has been with his doll. I know he will be a wonderful big brother, and cannot wait to see him interact with his real life baby sister! He is READY!

4 comments:

  1. It's great that you're preparing him. My autistic sons were 5 and 7 when my youngest daughter was born. I'm sure you will be watchful. Neither of my sons wanted to hurt the baby, but I had to keep a close watch that they weren't too rough when playing, and one of them was always wanting to pick her up.

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  2. What a great idea! My biggest piece of advice it to remember to find some special routine every day with him after the baby comes. Read a book right before bed or first thing in the morning. Something while the baby naps so he can be reminded that even though the new baby is very special he is too!

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  3. I loved this post. Some wonderful ideas!

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  4. What a great post! I know this will be helpful to many families with autistic siblings who are looking forward to the arrival of a tiny, fragile newborn.

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