Soccer coach to T1:
"You played really well today; you just need to focus more."
Karate sensei to T1:
"Hey, pay attention! You've got to focus or you'll be doing push ups!"
Cub scout "robotics" club coordinator to T1:
"You're on the right track; you just need to focus."
Me to T1 every night when he goes to bed:
"You really worked hard today at soccer/karate/robotics. You finished more than you thought you would. You learned something new, and you tried more than you did last time. I am proud of you, and you should be proud of yourself."
I'm working on broadening the focus. It's not what he can't do and needs to do better, but what he is doing and progress he's making. It's about all of him. T1 is not defined by how well he can hone in on one thing and make it the center of his attention. He is a many faceted human being whose attention to detail is scientific, whose sense of humor is intoxicating, and whose physical movement is whimsical. I won't let him go to sleep thinking he is incapable of that one thing that appears so important to the grown up world but often eludes him. And while I know he can't always focus, I can help him get there with loving reminders about what he's doing right and how he's moving in the right direction. There's so much more to him, and I intend to make sure he knows it.