Once you have figured out your child's daily routine it is so much easier to then look and figure out when will those possible trouble zones occur? Let's start at the beginning shall we.
- He does not like to be woken up. He likes to wake up on his own.
- Getting him to get dressed is a HUGE challenge. Keeping him dressed is a bigger challenge.
- What is he going to do with himself from the time the bus picks him up at 8:15 until class starts at nearly 9am? I haven't decided if he will eat school breakfast or not - probably a daily "let's see what is on the menu" type of deal. The principal mentioned needed parent volunteers to read to kids while waiting for class time. This can either be a winner with him - because he loves to be read to, or a loser - because he will want to be up and around. Not only that but with so many children in one space he is going to be ALL over the place.
- Reading, writing time - He has a hard time focusing on things. He struggles with sitting down. He will work well with some of the time with someone one on one - however left to his own devices and he will draw trains. His classroom has 25 children in it already - this should be fun.
- Good news is he does get pulled out of classes for 150 minutes a week for specially designed instruction plus an hour of OT and an hour of PT.
- Once a week on Tuesdays he will be pulled out of school early so that I can take him to OT = principal already knows this and we are both aware that I will still be getting a system generated letter knowing that I am interfering with his attendance - but that his OT supersedes the importance of staying in school.
- I worry that after being in a school environment all day "learning" that when he is home and i want to work with him one on one he will be resistant. We will TOTALLY play this by ear -
- Thankfully we have already set up a very regimented bedtime routine that we all enjoy. Both Chase and Emma call me on it when we don't do our routine - so that is good. It is just actually staying asleep that will be the problem!!!!
Chase went to preschool for the past two years. At Head Start he had an assigned chair. As long as his name was on the chair he was okay if it got moved.
At the preschool run by our local School District Chase Chase sat down on the elephant at the beginning of the year and the rest of the year he would race to that spot. He would shed his coat and backpack, push people out of the way to get to that spot, and when his teachers began to either stand on that spot or put other children there he would have a meltdown. (The teacher's began to do this as a way to help him learn flexibility).
Each day when I got him off the bus, after riding for less than five minutes on the bus, either a child or the bus driver would inform me that he wasn't keeping his hands to himself. I don't know how many times the bus driver would say to me "You need to talk to Chase about how important it is to keep his hands to himself." I would smile, say "okay", and attempt to have the conversation with him. "But I didn't do anyfing." Would always be his response. He thinks very much in the moment, and when talking to him about past transgressions he doesn't quite get it - because it isn't what is happening RIGHT NOW. Right now he ISN'T doing "anyfing".
If you start a routine with him be prepared to continue it, and have massive meltdowns until he gets used to the new routine.
He doesn't deal well with transitions.
Chase enjoyed recess. He liked riding the tricycle, playing on the slides, and towards the end of the year playing with other children. I'm choosing to be optimistic here! He will create his own routines on the playground, I am sure.
And as I mentioned in my first introductory post about preparing his sensory diet HE JUST MIGHT SURPRISE US! Still - being prepared is a good thing - and it helps Momma stay calm - which keeps him calm and EXCITED for Kindergarten. Which is why we have a calendar posted that he crosses off each day in his excitement for school to start.
In all this preparation the question exists: Is a schedule and a plan going to be the proverbial magical wand? No! Will a schedule prevent all future meltdowns? No!! Will each day have bumps in the road? No!!! Will we continue to use a picture schedule for the next few years? Probably not, I know myself - I'm too much like my mom. I get bored easily and we will switch to something else that works down the road. Change can be good - just as long as I keep in mind that Chase does like to know what is going on, and just because something works one day that it might not work the next.
And because it might not work the next day it is important to have a bag of tools up our sleeves! Leading us to our next homework assignment:
- Make a list of activities that you can do that would work throughout the day.
- What activities will wake Chase up and put him in a good frame of mind for school?
- What can we do to help make the bus ride a pleasant ride for all involved and ease some of Mommy and Daddy's anxiety? (with school starting in two weeks this is one of the things my dear husband is worried about the most!)
- What can Chase do while he is waiting for school to begin?
- What can be put in place in the classroom to give Chase structure and stability?
- What sorts of activities can Chase do that doesn't make him stand out when he needs to take care of his sensory needs?
- What can we do to make lunch time successful in the cafeteria?
- Will Chase enjoy the chaos of Recess or will he need more structure?
- What will help Chase when he is not able to focus because he is overstimulated?
- What will help Chase when he is starts to get sluggish and is no longer alert - which happens when his body starts to unwind and he gets tired or overstimulated. (interesting how he can become sleepy or wound up by being overstimulated - no just one or the other).
- What can we do to help with transitions, which he struggles with?
- Read this great blog posts from a mom who has been there, done that! Hartley's Life with 3 Boys: Sensory Diet
In this seriesCreating A Sensory Diet - Intro
Creating a Daily Schedule
We Have a Schedule, Now What?
Finding The Trouble Zones