Archives for posts with tag: Sensory processing disorder

I ask the above question because life changes the best laid plans.

For us, we are officially in week two of our fall schedule. I know we could have started ours, (Elizabeth’s and mine) earlier but decided to begin at the same time as Michael, her brother.

So that brings us to week two. And I must say that what Elizabeth and I had planned on paper looks a bit different in real life. Elizabeth is home now due to COVID instead of being in her college program for those with special needs. Part of what really works for her is to have a written schedule for the week and also one for each day. Nothing set in stone, just a gentle flow of what is or should I say, should be expected each day. Her sensory processing disorder ( SPD) can make transitions anxiety producing, so seeing what is scheduled helps with that.

Our schedule was to include work time each day, yoga one morning a week, our walk, cooking on Monday, time to work on her Etsy account each morning and then whatever activity she has in the afternoon, as she has a few virtual therapies.

So, how is it going?

Well…?

I found out that we need to walk first thing in the morning. It takes us about and hour or so to do the 5 miles along with the getting ready and getting home part. So that is a big hunk of time. And if not done then, she either doesn’t feel like it or there isn’t time later. The walk is so calming and quite enjoyable, so we are making it a priority for her.

Then she eats breakfast and starts to relax which is a good thing but also makes transitioning to our Etsy or worktime a big push. And just maybe we haven’t done work this past week…..

I found out that cooking everyone Monday with her is fun as long as Michael doesn’t have basketball practice and I need to take him. If so, then I need to cook earlier in the day and at that time, she is on a virtual class…..so just maybe we need to be more flexible and pick A day, not necessarily Monday.

I learned that I make a very uncreative teacher. If the assignment says type this. I say “Elizabeth, let’s type this” to which she says a whole bunch of things, some positive others not so much. (These assignments come from her tutor.) I learned I need to review the work we need to do ahead of time to present it in manageable chunks.

I learned that putting anything on the schedule past 6pm is basically making the decision NEVER TO DO IT. Yep, I learned that one well. Who knew that that lovely open time of the day was a really bad time for Elizabeth? I thought with her being off, she would be less tired and ready to roll and we could space out the things we want to do. So it is a definite no-go at that time, and trust me, I got the message.

I also learned that working in her room is not ideal, as is working at the den table. It is oddly, the kitchen table that is the unique fit. Not too loud, not too quiet. So again, it is learning where your child will focus best and you will find us at the kitchen table moving forward.

As I said, we are in week two and made a few adjustments from last week and I think it is a bit better than last week, not all the way, just better. I think that by understanding that this whole thing is new to us all, we can allow ourselves the wiggle room to adjust and adjust until things settle in the best way for our child.

I also learned I need to pick up a few supplies for her learning as in I am not sure who took all the pencil grips?! So I will be taking an inventory of what we need. So it you find you need something, maybe take a look at our site to see what fits your needs.

I am writing this at 5:50 in the morning as I love to get up early and workout and get somethings done, I am watching the weather and it is 44 degrees outside, and I am thinking our walk is going to be a cold one today and I also know we will be walking early because I learned it is what works best for the flow of our day.

After all, it is all a learning process for us with our special needs children and they and we are all a work in progress.

I hope everyone has a peaceful week. Please wear a mask! I do for my mom and others 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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