F&%! Nice Hands

selective focus photography of child s hand

This may be the title of the book. The phrase “nice hands” drives me nuts. I hear therapists and educators say this all the time. Nice is an adjective. Look it up in a dictionary. There are plenty online. Nice is not a verb. It does not say what to do. What you are looking for is “keep you hands to yourself” and for some reason, we try to shorten phrases to the point of not making sense to anyone listening.

Listen- I get it. This is my arm from about a month ago. Student was stressed out. The student also was reminded that they have better coping skills (because they have been seeing me for a while) and try a different way to communicate. I sat quietly waiting for the student to calm down. When cued that I will wait until we are calm, the student did this weird cross hands position even though I could tell we were not calm. I showed the student a pediatric pain scale and introduced a way to describe emotions. In the ABA world, I have been told that this will reinforce the negative behavior. Well guess what? The student has not aggressed since and we have had some of our best sessions. I do have to remind the student that I am a safe human due to other adults that have been abusive.

The emotions are not the problem. The reactions to those emotions are what we need to work out. I am still dumb founded that people think just because someone is nonspeaking, they don’t have the right to be sad, angry, depressed, have PTSD, etc. Fight/flight/freeze is NOT a cognitive choice. READ THAT AGAIN.

It’s funny. I get asked all the time if I am always calm. Nope- just have some really good coping skills to keep me calm most of the time. We are human. There are a range of emotions that we feel daily. And, its really hard to stay calm when advocating. Go back and read the post about Advocacy Without Getting Angry I have been ready Judy Heumann’s memoir. This woman is a bad ass. There will be a different post on the book all together and in the meantime, get the book and listen to her podcast!

What all of this boils down to, people with disabilities are just that. They are PEOPLE. The community I live in has me feeling very defeated most of the time. Between the governor’s nonsense, our local government running a muck, bad ABA to the point of child abuse, and no one cares. We are still in the separate but equal phase of civil rights. My heart is very tired.

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