New Neural Pathways for Impulse Control, Sometimes the Hard Way

Interventions When They Choose (Hard Way or Easy Way)

It was hiding on the couch

You know that stalling is a actual choice, right?

So when John wasted time this morning instead doing what he knows to do (The List),

he was choosing his own intervention the hard way.

Time Management: Crisis Mode.

Because time awareness is an intervention.

(And we often talk about decisions in a very primal way:  “Hard Way or Easy Way”.)

He wanted desperately to carry his drumstick bag to school on the bus.

He puts a lot of his identity in matching the other kids.

But we ran out of time this morning.

Unless he wanted to miss the bus.

He would rather die than miss the bus.

It has really helped that he has seen other kids almost miss the bus,

and that has become a deep neural pathway.

So this morning, ultimately, John chose to control a deep neural impulse

and inch a bit toward more sensory integration.

He couldn’t find his beloved drumstick bag to carry on the bus.

And carrying just his percussion binder now isn’t good enough.

The bag trumps the binder.

Swallowing vitamins are part of the daily routine

So he searched wildly and loudly at the last minute.

(For the record, we practice nightly getting everything ready for the next day.

It is a habit that has served Mom well.)

He couldn’t find the drumstick bag.

It was on the sofa.

Mom didn’t rescue him.

So he had to choose the bus or the bag.

Once out the door, he had to face the consequences of an earlier choice he had made:

“You decided to take your vitamins while we walked”

instead of with breakfast.

Which of course would have been easier.

Out of the corner of my eye, I could see him twirl around in a little hissy fit.

Mom just kept walking silently toward the bus (a non-verbal, minimal prompt).

In a few seconds, he decided to start walking toward the bus stop.

Tears in his eyes.

We talked about how time goes too fast when he yells.

We talked about how surely we will find the bag in the house.

And how we will try again and do better next time.

So, back to the vitamins, a question he hears daily is “Now or in the car?” or

“Now or walking to the bus?

He does not like swallowing vitamins (and he takes a pile of them for methylation support and healing).

And if he stalls in the car, I pull over and just wait.

Oh, he hates that.

So, he is time aware at times.

If he stalls while we are walking to the bus, we just stop.

We use this same location decision of “here or there?” for our Neuhaus Scientific Spelling and other academics.

In fact, this option gets offered to John constantly, to encourage him toward good choices.

So, to let your children feel empowered, let them choose.

But make all the options something you can live with.

As a bonus: Fun times with your children will occur as they practice making choices.

For example, last night driving home from taekwondo,

he leaned his seat way back, almost flat.

“I want to be more comfortable”, he said.

First time in his life those words have come out.

So, keep stretching your kids, and use the power of their own decisions.

Peace be with us,



I am a mom of learning differences, an educator and a former corporate warrior. I help you understand what to do to help your children with learning differences prepare for today so that they can be ready for life. I share with you all that I have learned. We always use a team to have fun and learn together.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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