Day #267 – Just Keep Swingin’

So, yesterday I wrote about coaching children on the spectrum and I was truly blessed to have my former-coach husband help me brainstorm ideas.  It was fun – mostly because we really like each other.  Weird, I know.

While we were brainstorming he was replaying many of his ‘coach’isms’ and one of them stuck with me for today’s post.

Just Keep Swingin’…Until You Break the Rock

So, I did a little research on this phrase (because I’m nerdy like that).  It actually comes from the Bible, who knew?  Jeremiah 23:29 to be exact; “Is not My word like a fire?” says the LORD, “And like a hammer that breaks the rock in pieces?”

It turns out that I don’t really like the original meaning of the phrase.  It sounds so violent when comparing a human to breaking rocks into pieces?  Breaking a human?  Yuck. (Yes, yes – I get that it’s a metaphor.)

So, I began thinking about the etymology (the study of the origin of words and the way the meaning has changed throughout history) of the phrase.  Most of us have put a positive connotation to the phrase – so it’s more about ‘just keep trying until the job is finished.’

Just keep swingin’

It reminds me of one of my weirdly favorite movies, What About Bob.  Although not critically acclaimed, it made me laugh.  Laugh a lot.

This movie is the story of a successful psychotherapist (Richard Dreyfus) losing his mind after one of his most dependent patients (Bill Murray) tracks him down during his family vacation.  What does Dr. Leo teach Bob?  Baby Steps.

Little did I know that movie was preparing me…

I have referred baby steps in this blog – but called it gradual coping.

It’s a bit more gentle than, ‘breaking the rock,’ but very focused on ‘Just keep swingin.’

Readers know I have trouble with the line.  Why?  It’s like I said to my mom yesterday – my struggle is in the balance of encouraging him to stay true to who his is while preventing mean people from making fun of him.  That is why the original phrase doesn’t work – I actually don’t want to ‘break him.’

But it does work – because we…

Just keep swingin’

Does it try my patience?  Surely.

We Just keep swingin’ 

Every Day.  Every Damn Day.

Whether it’s repeating rules for the 217th time or reminding him that he needs socks for basketball practice.  We stay calm and Just keep swingin’

All progress just takes a little more work.  Leaps don’t exist in our ASD world…but baby steps do.

It took 2 years to ‘graduate’ from Physical Therapy.
It took 3 years to ‘graduate’ from Speech Therapy.
It took 4 years to ‘graduate’ from Occupational Therapy.
It took 5 years to ‘graduate’ to regular socks.
It took 6 years to ‘graduate’ to two IEP goals.
It took 10 years to deal with crusts (although he still won’t eat the crust on toast).

Then…it can all regress.  We are currently back in physical therapy – but I’m thankful.  Thankful that we have found a magnificent person to come to our home.

So – this is simply an encouragement post…

Keep on mom…
Keep on dad…
Keep on grandma…
Keep on grandpa…
Keep on teacher…
Keep on coach…

Keep on…keep on all of you who have the opportunity to impact the life of someone with an autism spectrum disorder.  You ARE making a difference and although it may seem small just keep in mind that

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and then another…

and another…

and another…

and another…

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6 thoughts on “Day #267 – Just Keep Swingin’

  1. Reminds me the “one day at a time” phrase my mom used to always say. She would play a song by that title over and over again on Saturday afternoons. It’s now my motto. Baby steps indeed.

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  2. Hi. Ian finally got a diagnosis. It’s Asperger’s.
    I pushed for a 2nd assessment because I wanted to know exactly what it is he has and then maybe we can help him better. But I got so shock I didn’t understand much of what the doctor said.
    What could she mean when she said “Asperger’s, the highest form of autism”? And it’s not like I can go back to her clinic anytime to ask for a recap, hah!
    So now all I have is a piece of paper with a jargon of words.
    And this child whom I love so much, that every time I look at him my heart swells.
    I’m sorry this is out of topic. It’s only been less than 24 hours, the shock I think is wearing off but I am still very very sad

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    • This is wonderful! No wonder my writing about Tucker reminds you of your grandson. Asperger’s is on the ‘Autism Spectrum.’ Children with Asperger’s have difficulty with social interaction (making friends, having conversation, etc) and nonverbal communication (they may not ‘get’ the tone in your voice if you are being sarcastic or recognize that they are standing too close to other people). It also means that he probably enjoys repetitions of behavior (rocking back and forth, for example) and is very focused on one thing in life (for us, it’s football).

      HOWEVER…it also means that his language has developed and he is cognitively like his peers. This is why she said ‘the highest form of autism.’ Some folks refer to high functioning and low functioning. I’m not a fan of that description – but it will help you understand your grandson. He will be able to graduate from school, go to college (if he wants), get a job, and live in society – he most likely not have to live in a group home or with government assistance. Does that make sense?

      This is wonderful – now that you have some answers we can begin helping him cope so he doesn’t have to experience the ‘melt-down’ as often!

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  3. Pingback: Day #327 – Indexing | 366 Days of Autism

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