Sometimes our fridge almost scares me. It is like intervention central. It can feel like it’s out of control and taking over the house – but it is also the hub of the house and it keeps us moving forward.
It is really a giant day planner that also happens to keep our food cold.
When company is coming I attempt to rein it in and make it look more aesthetically pleasing. I will sort out what is not needed, straighten the art work and visual strategies and supports, throw out the past-user-date coupons, and then I hit a point of resignation.
This is our fridge: it is like a finger print (or perhaps more a finger painting) for our family. It is uniquely ours and represents so much about us and our dreams and our beliefs and our hopes and our priorities. It stretches us to new goals and reminds us of our accomplishments, and even has a gallery of photo memories.
The inside of the fridge holds sustenance of course – but the outside sustains us as well. It supports H and our family: it nourishes us, it gives us a plan to follow, it reminds us of the skills that are important and helps us maintain focus. It is a visual representation of the work we are doing with H and the hard work he is doing as well.
It is a monolith multi-layered visual plan which in a way it keeps all of us on track – not just H.
There is so much we are learning from H and our journey with him. Our fridge is a monument to our love and the way that we make intervention just an-everyday-all-the-time as automatic-as-breathing (or eating) way of being. We are using these supports daily. Right now the Cycle of Social Success from Michelle Garcia Winner’s Social Thinking site is particularly useful. However, in the rush of every day real world life, interventions can be forgotten or overlooked. Keeping the supports that we need on hand, blended with some amazing positive messages may not be pretty but it works. It can seem messy and disorganized, but oooohhh – our guy is a visual learner, like so many children on the Autism spectrum, and it is sooo very worth it!
Tip: laminated supports can easily have magnets added to them. Collect free advertising magnets from the pizza place or your friend’s fridges. Tape them with packing tape to the back of the item – tape right over them. Even the weakest of magnets will still stick through a layer of tape. If you do not have a laminator, you might consider page protectors from the dollar store. They usually come 10-15 to a package.
30 Days of Autism is a project designed to fight stigma, promote civil rights, and increase understanding and acceptance for those who process and experience the world differently.
© Leah Kelley, Thirty Days of Autism, (2011)