Who am I?
Hi! I am Margaret Webb, educator, wife and mother of Andrew. I graduated with a degree in Elementary Education, certified K-9, from the University of Dayton. I taught Kindergarten for 4 years and 3rd grade for 5 years. I had Andrew after my 8th year of teaching, took a year off while we lived in New Zealand for my husband’s work and then returned to teaching for one more year. When Andrew was 18 months, he was diagnosed as being developmentally delayed, primarily in speech. Andrew is now 7 and is a late-talking, hyperactive, high-functioning autistic child who is very sweet and happy but is most definitely stubborn and not a people pleaser.
Would someone please just tell me what to do?!?!?!?
After being frustrated by not knowing what to do at home to help him or how to get him to engage with me, I went searching for something I could do at home but couldn’t find anything that he would buy into. Because he did not talk until he was 5, it was also difficult to know or assess what he knew. He cannot be bribed, doesn’t like random activities and has to see the purpose in something if he is going to do it. This aspect provided a huge challenge for me because while I was a teacher, had attended every single therapy session he had ever gone to, had educational and pretend play toys, he didn’t want to play with me.
After his neuropsychological exam at age 4, which told me nothing I didn’t already know, I realized that I had to do something more, not only to find out what he knew but also to be more strategic with my questions and providing him with opportunities to demonstrate his understanding, knowledge and skills without having to talk. I wanted there to be something I could do, not someone else. I am the constant in his life and wanted to be able to have knowledge to pass on to teachers and therapists about how he learns, not only the other way around.
He did want to play with me. He just needed it structured differently.
I knew that when working/playing with him, I had to make it look fun, be purposeful and would have to work in our home and so that’s exactly what I created with My Obstacle Course. I saw first hand the difference the structure and activities made in our lives. After realizing that I was not alone in not knowing how to engage this kind of personality, I now teach other parents how easy it is to put together activity stations, creating My Obstacle Courses for their children. I am passionate about empowering parents with ideas and activities as well as encouraging them to play and engage with their children (while sneaking in some skill building!). This in turn helps them to engage, encourage and empower their child!