Life in a family of nine neurodiverse individuals: How we do it, why we do what we do, helping you do it too. "What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters, compared to what lies within us." - Oliver Wendall Holmes
Monday, May 24, 2010
Parties, Players, Planning and oh, POOP!
This past Saturday, we had son 3's birthday party at the local bowling alley. I had asked the school for a list of his friends, for example - that he eats lunch with. I got the ten names, and addressed invitations to them, got several RSVP's, and we were looking forward to party time. Now, son 3 has CP, and is fairly severely affected. He has severe dysarthria, uses a power wheelchair and AAC, but has a great attitude, and the bowling alley we picked is accessible and has ramps for wheelchair bowlers to put the ball on.
So I started out Saturday optimistically, though I knew we were logistically impaired by the fact that Son 2 had a sleepover guest Friday night, and we would be waiting for that guest to be picked up Saturday. Still, I had a cake to bake and decorate, a van seat to remove to accomodate the wheelchair, and I figured it would go ok. The men in my life figured it would go okay if I did everything. Unfortunately, I can't lift the van seat alone. (Well, I can, but if I do, I'm not bowling or doing much of anything else with my right arm for awhile. Carpal tunnel being the joy it is.)
My darling husband, whom I truly love, decided he would play the PS3 while I got things ready to go. That was not helpful. Rarely are videogames helpful when there's a deadline involved. Suffice to say that I got little help, and we ended up behind schedule. What else could wrong? Weeeellll....
Running late for our own party, I got a phone call from a guest's mom who told me that the bowling alley in question was closed, opened at 3 not 2, and what should we do now? I asked her to hold tight for a minute, called the alley, got a machine, and made the decision to move into the park behind the bowling alley for the cake-eating, present-opening portion of the party. I then called hubs to let him know (since with a van seat removed, we need two vehicles to transport our family), and proceeded to the park. We met, got the cake eaten and went to the bowling alley. Hubs was fit to be tied, as he felt that any misunderstanding or anything was completely unconscionable.
Bowling went well, the park went well, the kids had a great time, and I think that's what it's all about. BUT...I've learned a few things. 1. Call the place a few times. Make sure you're speaking with management, not the new teenager.
2. No sleepovers for other children the night before parties.
3. NO VIDEOGAMES THE DAY OF.
So, having figured all this out, that's the story of the party that was a bit of a mess, but turned out pretty darned good, all things considered.
The only other thing is... all these friends of Son 3 are also disabled. Interestingly, I found out from the parents that the majority (all but one) have 1:1 para support at school, and that is why they eat lunch together. Son 3 doesn't even like one of them, though that kid likes Son 3 quite a bit. I'm glad Son3 has friends, but I'd like to see him interacting more with typical peers. It's actually a request I've been making most of the year. I feel that he needs that typical, un-para-aided type of interaction to allow him to truly grow. He gravitates mostly towards adults, because they are (generally though not always) more patient with his attempts at speech production, digitally or vocally. But all teenagers need to be comfortable in their peer group, and he is no exception. Just because he has physical issues is no reason he shouldn't be involved with peers in group outings, etc. They have games and dances, but he never wants to go because his para won't be there. I think his dependence on the para needs to be addressed, and he needs to associate with typical peers, as well as those with disabilities.
It was a learning experience on many different fronts, and it's always good to keep learning.
I'm a mother of seven, ages 22 to 6. They all have special needs of one variety or another, hence my interest in parent advocacy.
Despite special needs, every child has their own needs, and all children have some things in common. You will find here rants, raves, excitement, tears... things all parents go through. You will also find acronyms that special needs parents know, as do the professionals that work with our children. My hope and my goal is to provide experience, strength, and hope, as well to learn from comments and receive your experience strength and hope.
I don't have all the answers, but between us, we can find them!