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Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Back to school, back to happier

Janey has been back in school for three days now, and she is far happier than during vacation.  The better mood actually did start before school started back up, so maybe school isn't all of it, but it certainly helps.  Her first day back, I got a report from her teacher that it was just about the best day she'd ever had---that she was cheerful, working hard, participating, smiling the whole day.  That was wonderful to hear.  She is sleeping better and on a more regular schedule, and she just seems more engaged.

So---what can I do with this?  Well, I know that year round school or something like school is essential.  Because I love to borrow trouble, I am already worried about the summer.  She can go to the summer program she went to for the last 3 years, but she wasn't at all happy there last summer, and I wasn't happy with it.  But other programs are hard to come by, and cost a huge amount often.  There are lots of special needs summer programs, but as I am learning as Janey gets older, there is special needs and then there is SPECIAL needs, and most programs can't handle Janey's level of needs.  I can try to make home more like school.  That isn't really my goal for Janey's life---I think it's good to have home be home and school be school, but I can structure things a little more at home.  I can try to figure out what aspects of school make Janey happy, and take those parts to use at home.

When Janey was in the worst of her screaming spell, around last Thursday, Freddy took over with Janey for an hour or so when I'd simply reached the end.  He somehow had the idea he'd like to work on academics with her.  I was skeptical.  I didn't think a little workbook time was the right thing for a girl that was hysterically screaming and crying.  But almost right away, when he sat her down with a preschool workbook, she calmed down.  She tried to do the work---tracing letters and circles.  She identified pictures we pointed out.  She seemed to welcome the distraction.  Later, Freddy hitched a computer to the TV and tried to work on typing letters with her a little.  She wasn't too into it, but again, she was calm.  The screaming seemed to break a little after that point.  It didn't disappear, but that hour with Freddy marked the beginning of the end of the horrible bad spell.

I'm not going to draw any major conclusions from all of this, but I am going to try to do a little more academics at home with Janey.  There is no reason why not to, if it she is calmed by it, and there is a lot of upside possible from it.  I'm going to also try to make myself structure days at home more.  I'm going to work on finding a good summer program, if possible.  I'm not under any delusions that she won't have another tough spell, though.  I know enough to know she most likely will.  It's such a relief when they are over, but every time she has one, the relief gets a little more tempered with reality.  We have only theories why they start, and why they stop.  We hang onto patterns and possible causes, but in truth, we don't get a lot about Janey.  This doesn't seem to change much with time.  But we'll catch our sleep and calm moments while we can, and build up our resources for the always uncertain future.


Unknown said...

Structure and routine work really well for my daughter too. I hope it works for you!

Antti said...

Maybe it's the unpredictability, too much variation of everything that gets occasionally overwhelming. Like when you take her to the bathroom during the screaming spell, everything is probably pretty much the same.I haven't been to your bathroom, but I presume that if there is a window, it is small and you rely on electric light, which remains the same every time and makes everything look the same, etc. Anyway, a smart boy you have!