Saturday, April 03, 2010

Letting things unwind

As we race towards our IEP date (I always get mine done early so I can plan and check and process and stuff), I am working on our new powerpoint. We are changing schools again, so we head into a new world with new people, who really don't know Joey. It is time to think about his strengths, his weaknesses, and most of all... his human-ness. The point of this powerpoint is not only to help focus my own thinking, but to emphasize Joey as more than a number and a list on paper, but as a real, living child.

Both of my kids have after-school moods. I am sure yours do, too. Andy comes home, ready to bounce off the walls and chatter about everything. Joey comes home and is often out of words, out of energy, and ready to hop onto his computer and play games there- nice, predictable games like Wow Wow Wubbsy- complicated enough to be entertaining, but clear enough to be predictable and complete-able. He's going to totally rock at Sonic the Hedgehog when he gets around to it.

I sometimes wonder if I should allow the computer time after school. If I let him, he would play solidly from the time he gets home until bedtime (Joey does his homework at school while waiting for his bus to arrive). It can be a real challenge to draw him back into doing something else, especially if he has had a bad day. With the sunshine returning, playing outside does have appeal, which helps a lot.

On the other hand, letting him unwind is also important. The stress he must go through keeping himself together and focused all day must be incredible. That is one of the things I'd like to think about with the new IEP. The problems of regression I witnessed at field day is another.

I wonder how worried people get about such things when there isn't special education in the picture. That balance between meeting needs and micro-management is a fine line to walk here. Perhaps that line gets crossed with lessons and sports and what-have-you these days.


Maddy said...

When mine burst in from the bus their word banks are empty, so they play for an hour with Lego and Bionicles and lots of voices and noises with absolutely no words at all, then snack, then homework, chores and eventually's a routine that sort of works some of the time and at least I know what I 'should' be doing.

I love the idea of a Powerpoint presentation to give 'new people' an idea of who are children really are rather than just the usual barrage of statistics and data - what a clever mum you are.

Don't envy you [all] the upheaval of a school change one little bit but I sincerely hope that laying the foundations so carefully pays off.

Anonymous said...

We save one particular computer game as a 'weekend game' because right now he's a bit too obsessed with it and it's hard to get him to sleep afterward. The rest we allow as soon as he's finished with his homework, which is only 20 minutes of reading. If he had more homework or work that required more effort, I'd let him play his games first. Regrouping is important.

Oh, I forgot. We pick him up from school each day and the 20 minute drive home is almost silent. Sometimes he wants to talk but usually he sits quietly and eats a snack. As if he is out of words too.

kristina said...

I really like your term "after school moods." For a while we settled on a good routine of getting Charlie to go for a walk prior to coming home, snacking, computer time. I try to keep demands low but still to have some structure---that 2-5pm period is 'the witching hour' for Charlie, when he's tired, processing the day, transitioning to evening.

Hope all goes well at the IEP! I did a presentation at one of Charlie's but it led to me getting even more emotional---now I'm sticking to a typed-up statement and handing out some copies.

Ali said...

There was no special education, per se, for me in school--I was partially mainstreamed (the other part was gifted and talented, not spec ed, so it meant more homework rather than less), and had a lot of homework from a pretty early age. However, I, too, needed downtime after school--so did my NT brother.

I think it's important to think of the primary need as a kid thing--Joey (and Andy) needs to unwind because he's a kid, and being a kid in school is difficult, what with adults making demands all the time and the learning new stuff. What makes Joey (or me, or Charlie, etc) different from his peers is that he needs a longer cooling off period, because the demands of school feel amplified from what an average kid might feel. I can't see how respecting that need would ever be wrong--but, then, I've been on the computer for about three hours after a day-long trip to Busch Gardens, and will probably need all of tomorrow to finish decompressing. ;)

Stimey said...

I honestly think that all parents have found ways to work with those after school moods. I know lots of typical kids who kinda freak out at home after being "on" all day.

My kids each have their own after school thing too. For Jack it is Legos. For Sam it is yelling if the plan he has come up with on the bus on the way home for the afternoon doesn't go as planned. Quinn is pretty go with the flow.