Monday, October 2, 2017

Special-Needs Parenting Fantasy Vs. Reality #2

Parenting a kid with special needs doesn't always go as planned. For me, it didn't always go as planned back in the spring, and it hasn't always gone as planned this fall, as shown in these 5 scenarios:

Fantasy #1: I'll do some dishes, tidy up the house, and run some errands in the afternoon before picking kid up from school.

Reality: Kid's teacher calls at 1 p.m. and says that kid has been coughing a lot and is running a slight fever and could I please pick him up early? 

When I arrive at school, kid is sleeping, and assistant carefully transfers him into stroller. Ten minutes after we leave, kid wakes up, looks at me, and says "go," which means he wants to walk. He spends the next 30 minutes pushing stroller to store and speed-pushing a large shopping basket through store.

Was he just pretending to be sick?! 

(If so, I'm impressed.)


Fantasy #2: I will clean kid's bedroom and the upstairs bathroom before the babysitter arrives.

Reality: Kid is whiny. He wants to go outside and watch buses and cars go by. I decide to give him the next best thing: I set him on a stool next to my bedroom window (2nd floor) so that he can look down at the buses and cars going by on our busy street. 

He watches the buses and cars while I clean. Having come up with this solution, I feel rather clever. (Reality: it was not all that clever.)


Fantasy #3: I will give kid a receptive language test to see how well he can discriminate between different motor vehicles: I will place 6 types of toy vehicle within his reach on a side table and first ask him to give me the train, and then each of the other 5 vehicles. I will film him and send the video to his special education team.

Reality: I say "Give me train." Kid puts right (good) hand on train, but it is in 2 pieces and too difficult to pick up with one hand (parenting fail), so he plays with train and bus for 2 minutes while ignoring my repeated requests for train. 

(To his credit, he does pretty well on the test a bit later.)


Fantasy #4: I will train kid further in the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) during afternoon snack time. He will sit in his special high-low chair, and I will give him a communication book containing detachable pictures of 3 highly desired foods. He will give me the picture of the food he wants most, and I will present him with a tray containing small pieces of all 3 foods and say "go ahead and take it." If he takes a piece of the food that matches the picture he gave me, he will be praised. And repeat.

Reality: I set up all of the materials for a PECS training session. Kid is playing with cars when I tell him it's time for snack. He complains, and I say, "Okay, play with cars more first, then snack." By the time he finally wants his snack, it's too close to dinner time to do a long PECS training session. Plus, he's fussy, so he ends up eating his snack seated on my lap.


Fantasy #5: Kid and I will go to a Music & Movement class on Saturday morning. We will have a lovely train ride there and a lovely time at the class.

Reality: Guy sitting in front of us on train pukes into the aisle. Kid tries to grab onto back of guy's seat, while I try to block kid and say "Don't touch! That's yucky," which results in kid screaming.

We do have a lovely time at the music class, though. Kid especially enjoys playing with egg-shaped maracas and a triangle, which he plays with 2 hands. Two hands!

After we get home, kid goes to his play kitchen and is excited to find a pretend plum. He shows it to me and tries to shake it because it is egg-shaped and he thinks it is a maraca.

I feel proud...

...and he throws it on the floor.

Glad that wasn't really an egg.

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