Today started with fresh fruit for breakfast and the first of today’s interesting facts, cows in this area in the intensive system sleep on water beds! I went to bed last night thinking about curiosity and how learning new things can be fascinating but it does rather depend on how the information is presented…
Yesterday evening I visited Lewis’s Mum and Dad, Gran and Grandpa. Lewis is a child who lives life at “full steam ahead”, he has an active mind and body and says his words can’t keep up with his thoughts. His favourite publication is about how things work and his choice of reading material is highly imaginative.
At the same time he makes frequent social errors, in particular rigid adherence to rules and their interpretation and a readiness to tell people when they are wrong and to police errors. He is unaware how his behaviour aggravates or upsets others and will argue fluently and logically. It is such a confusing mix and with a shift to Year 2 coming up his Mum and Dad are worried about how he will cope.
We discussed running away and venting and how an escape card system might help if the school could be persuaded to take it on board, how running as a form of stress busting would work and provide an outlet with high success rates as he is both fast and determined. We talked about the difficulty applying rules consistently when there are 4 family members involved in the average day and we agreed that it is really tough but that rules can be different for differing adults providing it is clear and explicit when it’s just not possible for everyone to agree. Persistence is possible and this family is determined to both fight Lewis’ corner and rub the corners off so that he doesn’t pay such a high price for mistakes made at school. He has a two night stay away with a club and we thought through how the basic rules could be explained and how we could give Lewis an understanding about how his decisions would drive events. Mum is brilliant at using visual timetables and the way forward whilst not simple is totally doable when there are communities who want to try around the child both in and out of school.
Yesterday evening finished with me discovering the failure to unplug my iPhone charger from the socket at the last overnight stop. No problem when Suzie simply drove me to buy a new one. Such kindness is absolutely beyond the call of duty for a B and B. Help given without hesitation is still astonishing and restores ones faith in human nature.
As the day’s walk wore on slight drizzle turned to heavy rainfall and I got very wet.
I entertained myself writing a SMART target:
- Gina will put on wet weather clothing when it rains in a real life context.
- Evaluation: waterproof put on and zipped up in 3 minutes no prompting.
- Gina soaked to the skin and moaning about wet socks.
- Next steps. Gina will be supported in effectively evaluating the properties of waterproofs for use in heavy rain.
- Gina will be asked to name the positive and negative aspects of clothing purchased.
- My waterproof is …
- Dries fast
- My waterproof:
- Lets the rain in
- Sticks to your skin in clammy swathes
- Allows water to run down the front then fill the pockets with pools of water that flood shorts and pants
- Flaps in the wind and flies up
- Has a utterly useless hood that makes you look a complete twit when you use a safety pin under the chin to keep it on.
Perhaps garment not fit for purpose!!!
I finished the 23 miles with the last mile at a steady trot as I was keeping Hattie and the boys waiting at our allocatedmeeting place so arrived chest heaving, red in the face and sweaty. However Hattie didn’t turn a hair welcomed me into the car introduced the boys and we drove home.
I spent a happy couple of hours striking up an acquaintance with Sam who had been withdrawn from playgroup after a miserable time. He was apparently ‘fine’ but came home extremely distressed, volatile and having frequent accidents. He coped by being extremely and wholly compliant when there so things looked good but simply could not sustain the effort and began to stop talking and show extreme anxiety levels. Mum is running an incredibly high quality EYFS based curriculum at home and is teaching herself and Sam how to use visually supported communication.
We thought through how to practice the largely unspoken rules that are expected in school such as tolerating holding hands with a peer, changing for PE, asking to leave the room to use the toilet, coping with not being first or the winner and how to line up.
These things practiced over and over again within the safe environment of home will mean such things don’t come out of the blue at the start of term. Other children will of course be learning these things too but when you have difficulty seeing and understanding social contexts its helps to get them established first. Lewis has so much to offer, he is enthusiastic about super heroes yes, but he finds lots of things interesting when he is not anxious and learns fast.
Hattie forgave me for getting her name wrong more than once and for being late. Sam’s younger brother Ben joined in everything contributing heaps of helpless giggling. The chance to talk to both parents, hear the battles and triumphs and tweak advice to fit makes a huge difference.This family laughs a lot and worries about making school a success are real but with the whole summer to practice things are looking good.