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Getting my special needs child back on track after the storm

I was so thankful when the kids headed back to school on Monday morning!

Yes, they need the structure. Yes, they need to be occupied mentally. But, more importantly, I needed a break!! Ten days at home, mostly without power, is too much for this mom.

J did not want to go back to school. Now that the power was back on at home, the same old arguments were rearing their ugly heads. All he wanted to do was stay home and relish in what is a fully loaded, technologically ready to go household.

But he did get on that bus and he did go to school. I had my parent teacher conference with his wonderful teachers on Monday as well. Which was really good timing because that afternoon, when J returned home from school, he had homework. Well, it was a review for the math test the next day. Yes, after being out of school for a week, the kids were having a friggin math test!!! Talk about not setting them up for success!

Getting J to do the homework was a challenge. He was tired. Exhausted was more like it, as I think most of the children were after being out of their routines for so long. He also did not have the attention span to sit and read the directions. He just whipped through it without taking the time to see what exactly was being asked of him. This is not unusual. But when we are in the throws of our routine, he knows what is expected of him and we can get through these things with a little more ease.

J had bags under his eyes. He was picking at his lips (which were chapped from all the cold and dry air). He was looking out the window as nature was also getting back to normal. What he wasn’t doing was listening. He also was not concentrating. At all. I was sitting right beside him. I would say his name. He would say, “what?”. I would repeat the question. He did not respond. This went on over and over until I raised my voice. Now he heard me but had no idea why I had yelled. Since this was a review page, there were several different sections with different objectives and instructions for each of those sections. J just answered those math questions how he wanted to, with no regard for what he was being asked to actually do. So we went through it. We sat there for a half hour. He had to go back and redo half of the sheet. He got stuck on one problem. After fifteen minutes on that one problem, I called in for back up and asked my husband to try. He did. For another half an hour. There were more cries. More frustration from J. My husband was handling it with patience and ease, which is way more than I was capable of at that point.

Finally, he got through it. We were all exhausted at that point. J asked to “go on media” and we allowed him to. After what we had just went through in that hour, we had no capacity to fight with him any longer. We needed a break. He needed a break.

But, I couldn’t help but think about how we managed without the technology for the week of the storm and how much better off J was for it. I felt incredible guilt about not having enough…well, a lot of things…patience, energy, perseverance, compassion, just whatever those tools were that I needed to have at that moment for my child, that I did not possess.

I know, I know, cut myself some slack. It was a rough time. But, we didn’t lose everything like so many others did. We were in our safe, warm home with our children that were safe with us. Isn’t that enough to make me realize how good I have it??

So, I went to my conference with J’s teachers with the homework review in hand. I showed them where he had difficulty and they came up with possible modifications for the actual test. Like I said, they are wonderful teachers.

He took the test and he didn’t do so great. Not bad, but just about average. He is capable of so much more though. I know it and his teachers do too.
I am really hoping that now that we are back in the swing of things, the kids in school, J getting his OT regularly again, his speech therapy, that he will improve all around. It’s like he knows when he can slack and when he can’t. I have to learn to help him through those times better. To be his advocate even when I have so little left in the tank. I mean, if I don’t do it, who will?

Categories: Behavior


2 Responses to “Getting my special needs child back on track after the storm”

  • kirsten says:

    Jaime, your husband sent me over here, and first off, big hugs! Because anyone thrust down the path we are going deserves extra hugs. Goodness knows i need them sometimes!
    I have a newly 10yo spectrum kiddo. He has some anxiety issues (and also his chapped lips drive him nuts! 🙂 so I am SO glad we weren’t in that storm. Glad everything is getting back to normal, it’s SO hard to mess with the routine, I know. With Halloween, a birthday, and Thanksgiving coming up, I feel like I should write off the rest of the month! Also, SO happy that you have good team for J at school, you are so lucky! Our school experience was a train wreck, we only go now for math help and speech, homeschooling the rest. Speaking of… gotta go get them moving!

    • Jbear says:

      Thank you! I am glad it’s all over too but think we are in for a rough winter!
      Home schooling…wow! I don’t think I could do that. Kudos to you!!! So glad your guy is a fan of Fetch! We certainly miss it in our house.

      Happy Holidays to you!


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