The absolute most effective method we have found to bring change into Kaitlyn’s life is using countdowns. She has a dry-erase board in her room, and any significant change is posted in advance so she can count the days until the event. Kaitlyn is a very structured and routine-oriented girl that this has proven to be a tremendous asset to us.
The first time I remember using a countdown was for Halloween last year, and we have used it for every holiday since. Because of the success of using it to count toward holidays, we started using a countdown for when family comes to visit since it will upset her routine greatly…and it worked! We used it to countdown to the marathon I ran because it meant taking her out of her comfort zone for a few days. We are now using it to countdown to a big change in her after-school routine, and instead of fighting us on the change, she is growing more excited by the day. But, the absolute most excited she has been for a single event we have counted toward is the one we added yesterday…a trip to see Mickey Mouse in a few weeks. It has been just over 12 hours since she found out, but it is all she is talking about. We have mapped our day at Magic Kingdom, and our day at Animal Kingdom already. This will be her 4th trip to Disney for her, but I anticipate this one being the one she enjoys most, and the one Amber and I remember most.