In trying to write to the WASO theme of safe spaces, there is really only one place Jonathan feels to appear safe; home.
I’m judging his feelings of safety on times when his behaviour is slightly more calm, he’s in that ‘just right’ space to listen, and is generally more easy-going. I don’t know if that translates to feeling safe, but that’s what I’m going with.
He’s definitely more comfortable at home than other places; we can tell by his ability to (often) follow the rules and boundaries more so at home than anywhere else.
Thinking back to when he moved in, almost 10 months ago now, his volume was super loud and all he really knew what to do was run with his fire truck back and forth up and down the hall.
His ‘safety’ then was showing everybody who came by the vacuum and the fire alarms. Compulsively. Constantly. He also had to point every single fire alarm out and talk about them in every single store.
He’s definitely come a long way from there, and although he still loves his fire trucks, alarms and vacuums, he’s slightly more quiet and is able to occupy himself in others way now.
However, I don’t think it’s so much the physical space of the house that makes it safe for Jonathan, but more so it’s us.
We have tried very hard to be consistent, to give routine and predictability. To let him know what’s happening, who’s coming and going and we’ve always followed through (ok, there has been a few times I slacked). Those things combined with love and lots of reassurance and fun have translated to safety for him.
It’s a lot of work. It’s constant work. It’s a lot of time and effort to parent this way. But the alternative is not an option we want for Jonathan. Hopefully over time he will be able to expand the number of places and people he feels safe with, but for now we will just keep focusing on us at home.