Archives for posts with tag: Family

Michael, soon to be a freshman, son took a few moments out of his busy ( read, not really that busy) schedule to get his backpack in order. Our school system starts the day after Labor Day or September 8th.

I poured out of the store bags, all of the items that we had picked up for him for the year. Out came folders, spiral notebooks and pencils.

I watched for a moment as he took the haphazard pile of stuff and started to organize it. I then left to do something else and when I came back in he was done and asked me to look at it.

I noticed that he put things in his main binder in the way that he could easily find them and they way they worked for him. Maybe I would have not put the notebooks in the folders but it was his way. And it works for him.

Prior to doing this little project, we took the time to create a work space for Michael. One that would serve him well for nightly homework as well as a good place if (and let’s be honest…when) his school will go to remote learning. He and I had to talk about where we wanted to make this space.

He has a desk in his room but COVID learning taught us that that room is not really his best learning space. We also know from experience that being a one of the main floor rooms doesn’t work because of all the noises and distractions. So we decided on a space that offers a compromise so he is not alone but not distracted. We then brought the desk to that room and set it up.

My offerings from these events are:

-I think that knowing the way your child does things may not be your way or the way they learn may not be your way ( I am better in a quiet space) but that it is okay.

-And as much as we want to help our children learn and achieve it has to be done, my opinion here, with a nod to their opinion and choices. Maybe they do best right after school to do homework, maybe like mine, not until after dinner.

-Our way works for us.. theirs works for them. I can remember telling Emily, our oldest, then 13, just how to organize her room for the sake of getting organized and staying that way. So we did it MY way and I was so happy but it didn’t stay that way because I was really putting my way above any ideas she had. ( I am not proud of this moment but I will say for a short while that room looked great)

-I think that realizing the importance of listening to our children, typical or those with special needs, in the way they best communicate, is so important. It helps in creating a “team” approach to making some decisions together. Be them big or small. Decisions that can make life just that much smoother and easier.

The school year this year will be challenging. PERIOD so when things or issues come up, I want to know the thoughts and feelings of my children and I want them to know that their words and emotions matter. And that we can work through issues and situations together.

I wish everyone a peaceful week. Please wear a mask. I do for my mom and other’s who could get really ill.

Michele Gianetti

Michael was talking to me yesterday and said something that I think really sums up his time off. We were driving to take him to an appointment and I mentioned that his school is now starting in September instead of mid August. Due to, of course, the Coronavirus.

I just finished telling him about it and he said, ” I have another month off but it’s weird Mom, the summer went so fast but so slow at the same time.”

And that my friends is really the truth of this whole thing isn’t it. As much as it seems like a long time we have been at this, sometimes it feels so much shorter.

We have all worked out way through many emotions since late February from panic and anxiety to current day disbelief that many STILL do not follow safety protocols simply because they do not want to. And somewhere in all that we ended a school year with our children facing the computer and interacting with their teacher and friends instead of in person.

Now, we are all facing the start of a new school year that has almost as many uncertainties than last year if not more.

There is one common thing, at least in my opinion, and it is the need to help your child with special needs (and typical children) start the year off as organized and calm as is possible amidst this pandemic.

Here are 4 easy tips to use during this school year:

  1. COMMUNICATE WITH YOUR CHILD ABOUT GOALS FOR THE YEAR

I say this one because I know what MY goals and hopes are for Elizabeth, but I shared in a blog prior, that they were NOT her goals now. Truly, at the age she is she SHOULD have a say in her goals, but in truth, all typical children have a say in their plans or choices ( some have bigger says than others). From the sport they like, to the after school activities ( pre- COVID) so if neurotypical children can have this say, then it serves to logic that our special needs children should get to have the same…to their best ability. It was truly eye opening to hear Elizabeth’s goals and I was grateful to know them and try to help her meet them.

2. HELP THEM PLAN A WORK SPACE

Face it, trying to learn with the blender going, a sibling talking and the T.V. on can be super challenging for some and for other silence is the enemy. It really is all about the child and their needs and ways of learning. So plan out a place that fits their needs best and designate it as their schoolwork spot. Now in COVID, what was a great space may be commandeered by a sibling etc. So maybe take a peek at available spaces that may work and go from there. I know Elizabeth wants to be alone and in a quiet room with me when we work but changes the room depending on her mood.

3. HELP THEM PLAN THEIR SCHOOL DAY

My beautiful typical developing son, Michael showed me just how well a greatly motivated middle schooler could polish off a weeks worth of work to get to freedom early during the quarantine So there’s that option but that one leads to a crammed in day, hurried work and less processing of information. So a few, nice conversations later, Michael was part of planning a schedule for work that did not include the finish line by Monday night.

It helps our children to have a schedule of their days and work to help them prioritize, plan and process their work. And for those with special needs, it helps them plan for the work and transition between challenges.. I know Elizabeth WANTS to know what work she will be doing each day. Even if your child is home with you, a plan helps everyone stay organized and shows where there is time to put in a walk, some fun thing or simple downtime

4.PLAN A TIME TO CHECK IN WITH THEM

Sure they could literally be at your kitchen table all day. Or home from school for hours. But checking in with them means checking in on emotions, how they are coping, their anxiety or concerns. Just because your child, special needs or typical “look” ok doesn’t mean they don’t have something to share or talk about. This is especially so during COVID.

Making time to check in is, in my opinion, critical. Michael and I call it “hanging out for a while” and Elizabeth calls it “chat time” Whatever its term, it is really important.

Time for school is upon us in some form…so a bit of planning can help instill a bit of peace.

I hope everyone has a safe, peaceful week.

Please wear a mask. I do for my mom and others who could get really ill.

Michele Gianetti

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