Having a child with a neurobiological disorder is expensive. Medications, special treatments and therapies, tutoring and respite all cost a significant amount of money.
How much does it cost a kid? LOTS!
Pretend you wake up each morning with 100 “coping points.” Virtually everything our children do is more expensive than it is for the “typical” child. The idea of this imaginary point system is that to be a balanced, coping person, you need to be able to finish the day with at least 15-20 coping points.
Here is an example day:
|Activity||Neurotypical Kid||Coping Points||Neurobiological Kid||Coping Points|
|Wake Up||Not a morning person||97||Not a morning person, disoriented, confused||92|
|Brush Teeth||Drops toothpaste cap, picks it up||96||Drops toothpaste cap, trouble finding it, finds it, hits head on sink, says to self “I’m clumsy”||86|
|Get Dressed||Favorite shirt is dirty, “too bad”, choose another one||95||Favorite shirt is dirty – stuck on wanting favorite shirt, makes kid late||80|
|Eat Breakfast||Expected favorite cereal has run out, is flexible and choses another one||94||Expected favorite cereal has run out, gets angry, refuses other options, calls people names, gets yelled at||70|
|Gather items for school||Can’t find math homework – methodically looks – probably finds it||93||Can’t find math homework – isn’t organized to know how to look – throws items around room, parents yells “This mess is unacceptable!”||58|
|Put on shoes||Picks them up and puts them on||93||Gets shoes on wrong feet, has to change them, messes up tying and has to retie||50|
|Get on school bus||Sits with a friend||95||Some kid says “Oh, not YOU again!” Kid is hurt and angry||45|
Many of our children walk out the door with fewer than half their coping points left!
Work with your spouse, the child’s teacher(s) and the child him/herself to support the careful budgeting of coping points. This involves planning ahead, learning helpful self-talk and organizing activities that enhance mastery and therefore self-esteem. With collaboration and forethought, you can have a kid who ends the day peacefully with enough coping points more often.