So, a week today and Jude will be back at school. Halle-bloomin-lujah!!!!
Honestly, this boy is so ready to go back to school now. He literally wanders around going through his little routines, he can’t be bothered to do anything and whinges if I suggest we leave the house in any way whatsoever.
Here is a picture of Jude and Granny from this mornings walk into town…he’s catching up with her in terms of height!!
But overall, the holidays haven’t been too bad. We’ve kind of fallen into a semi-pattern of behaviour and everyone has chilled out a bit…well, Elsa has anyway. She is going to feel it big time when the alarm goes off at 6.20 next Wednesday (her first day back) and we do our usual rush to the school bus for 7.15. Eurgh. I can feel the anxiety already…
Jude had a good time for perhaps the first 3 weeks but then started to ask over and over again when he would be returning to school. “Is it Monday I go back, mummy?” “Yes Jude, in 3 Mondays time.” Eeeeeekkk
He doesn’t understand why he is off school for so long and to be honest, neither do I. For special needs children like Jude, school is not entirely about education. It’s theirs, it’s a place to go and be accepted for who they are, have the constant support from teachers and staff that isn’t always possible at home with other siblings, work and chores to put in the frame. Jude loves going to school, he adores his main one to one assistant and seeing what’s in his packed lunch. He loves his bus driver and the rigidity of time tables and scheduled activities. Why do special needs schools not have summer holiday provisions put in place? I feel like lobbying the government for decent holiday care. Trying to work during a 6 week holiday with a special needs child is a nightmare – who can look after them for you?? There isn’t a big waiting list of nannies and childminders available to help because it takes a huge amount of trust leaving your special needs child with someone. Inevitably you want (need?) a one to one style childcare in place and that is expensive! So, despite the fact Jude has had quite a nice time off, I really think it is way too long for him and others that I know from his school.
So what is the key word for summer holidays with a special needs child? SURVIVAL. Have you all survived?
What have you done in order to survive?
We have allowed Jude to do a lot of his little repetitive “stimming” activities that he always resorts back to in times of emptiness or boredom, for example lining up the blocks on the tv table or sitting on his go kart and pushing it around the garden in no particular direction.
Weirdly, Jude and Elsa have got on pretty well – look they even played together a couple of times!!
I have picked my battles very carefully, allowing him to get away with things that I wouldn’t readily do so. His behaviour has been very up and down but rather than fighting it, when he has had bad moments I have simply asked him to go to his room and play there for a while which he always does as he likes spending time in his room (*stimming and listening to his radio).
I’d love to hear all your lovely stories about summer holidays – what has been your highlight?
We still have one little bit of excitement left…Elsa is off to Paris with her lovely Granny tomorrow for 2 days and she is so excited! She has promised to take lots of photos so I will let you know how it goes for her. Jealous much!
*To stim is to repeat an action over and over with no actual benefit to the child or adults development. It’s like a form or relaxation to Jude, he totally goes into himself and despite his movements appearing really random and strange, he is completely in control. For example, pushing little cars back and forth across a table. He can do this for HOURS but obviously I don’t let him, on the whole we limit his stimming.