Monday, April 18, 2011

Two Aspies and a Museum

This week is Kyle's school vacation.  Monday, we took a trip to the Montshire Museum, one of the kids' favorite places to go.  Kyle's therapist was going to meet us a little after we got there.  I wanted the kids to partake in the sound activity at 11:00, which was starting just after our arrival, so we went in and went upstairs to the activity.  I managed to dodge the meltdowns about who got to check us in and who got to pass out the admission stickers by planning a little ahead.  Usually, I let one child show the membership card, one child show my license and the third child pass out the stickers.  Passing out the stickers usually ends up in a fight about people wanting to take their own, or it wasn't put in the 'right' place, et cetera.  I preemtped this whole situation because we didn't have a lot of time and told them that I was going to check us in and hand out the stickers and if that didn't work we weren't going to go.  Things went smooth.  You may wonder why I just don't do that every time.  That would be the easiest thing for me anyway.  I let them get involved and take on different tasks so that way they can learn to take turns and learn the process of what to do when you get there.  I take the 'hard' route in many situations like this.  How do I expect the kids to learn if they are not involved??

So, the activity was about sound.  The kids learned about sound and how you hear.  Then they had the chance to make noise makers out of straws.  It basically looks like a long oboe reed when you are done.  This activity involved straws and scissors.  Lucky for me the straws had different color stripes on and the scissors varied in color as well.  Caitlin was handed a green straw and Kyle was handed a red straw.  Christopher was fine with his yellow straw, but I had to convince Kyle and Caitlin that it was okay that they had green and red straws and stop them from asking for a different color.  Same thing with the scissors.  Apparently they don't have the 'correct' color scissors either.  Oh my goodness.  If you think I may have lost it by this point, it gets even better.  We were instructed to flatten one end of the straw and cut the corners off.  I tried explaining to Caitlin what we had to do and I also showed her that we did the same to her brother's straw.  I cut the straw for her and she had a fit!  "Mommy!! (big mean frown) It's all your fault!" She carried on and on about how she didn't want her straw cut (the straw she didn't want anyway because it was the wrong color)...I tried to show her how it worked by blowing into it and she just didn't care.

This whole thing lasted only about fifteen minutes.  Out the window I saw Kyle's therapist show up and told the kids we needed to go downstairs to meet her.  They complied, but I had to listen to Caitlin the whole way about the color of her straw and how it was my fault.  She even stormed off to the coat room and protested, thinking that she would end up with the 'right' straw.  She didn't.  And...we did end up having rather a fun day even with a few scenarios like the one I talked about.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Summer School

This morning marked another IEP meeting.  Looking back, the journey it took to get an IEP and the years of struggles along the way was all worth it now.  Kyle's IEP team is great.  It is nice to leave a school meeting refreshed now, instead of frustrated and furious.  Now it is just meeting a tweaking accommodations and supports that are in place.  Also, since we are rapidly approaching the end of the school year, it was time to discuss the possibility of summer school.

Kyle's academic level does not qualify him for academic summer school, but they felt that he qualified for summer school for social skills.  We had discussed this briefly a couple of months ago and I have been struggling with my opinions since.

We do a lot of 'stuff' during the summer that we just aren't able to do during the school year.  We basically live at the Montshire Museum of Science and Six Flags.  Who has time to fit in summer school?  Sending him to summer school would take away from my time with him.  But then again...I have to remember that it is his time, not mine, and that I mainly needed to look at what was best for him.

I also talked with Kyle about summer school.  To my amazement he was excited.  Seriously?  What kid wants to go to summer school?  Apparently mine.  So, I went to the meeting with an open mind.

Summer school for social skills is held four days a week just for half a day.  They do a variety of things in this group.  For instance, Mondays they plan on what they are going to prepare for lunch on Tuesday, they compile a shopping list, split it among the group and take off to the grocery store.  They are responsible for locating the items, asking the appropriate person for help when needed and paying for the items and making sure they have the correct change.  They also incorporate in the program bal-a-vis-x which I just learned about today and sounds wonderful.  Here's the link

Summer school runs for five weeks, in which one of those weeks we will be in Florida, so he really is only going for four weeks.  I could take up pages and pages writing about all of the positive aspects of this program but I'll save it for outside discussion if you would like to know more. 

One other added benefit is that Kyle is going to take the bus.  Currently Kyle is dropped off and picked up at school by us.  We are not required to do this, the bus stops right near our house, but a few years ago he was having difficulty on the bus and it was just easier all around to pick him up and drop him off.  This summer he will ride the bus with less people and can hopefully transition to regular school transportation next year.  He will probably still need to be placed behind the bus driver, but it will be that much more social exposure that he gets.

This is such a great opportunity for Kyle that I am glad he is able to participate it.  I will definitely blog about how the program goes this summer.  <3