We had our first full week of therapies etc this week. And I can see it’s going to be a busy year!
Monday was our first CPEC session. 5 hours worth. S enjoyed it thoroughly. It was nice to see some of our old friends again and meet some new ones. There is a big focus in the sessions this year on school preparation. I can see that being just that little bit older has made all the difference to S. All the activities were really well targeted to where he’s at right now. It was a long day, but good fun.
Monday was also M’s first full day of child-care. I have been wanting him to start child-care for a while now – just for a day. I knew it would be good for him to have a chance to interact with more kids his own age and also to experience a little more independence from mum and Aunty J. He loved it. There were just a few tears as I left, but within 15 minutes of me leaving staff tell me he was happily playing with the other kids. Great! He will be going to child-care every Monday while S is at CPEC. A good arrangement for us all.
Tuesday was horse-riding. We have moved locations for our riding. We are now riding at a children’s farm close to the heart of the city. However, looking around you would never guess where we are. The location is sublime. It looks and feels like we are 100 miles away from the city. We have the same trainer and volunteers and S was very happy to see his favourite horse again. He was also looking more straighter and stronger as he rode.
Tuesday afternoon was also swimming lessons. At our old swimming pool, when I enquired about swimming lessons for S, they said they could only offer me one-on-one classes (with a one-on-one price!) and that there was no-one trained specifically to teach children with special needs. It couldn’t be more different at our new swimming pools. Both our new local pools are perfectly accessible for people with disabilities, including beach or ramp entrances into the water, wheelchair hoists, abundant accessible car parks AND best of all, a special program of swimming classes called ‘access all abilities’ providing specialised trained staff. We have a wonderful new teacher and a class of 2 – with a new little friend (aged 6) who also has CP. I am still trying to figure out how I didn’t know about these classes beforehand and kicking myself. Where we live now is not so far from our old house and I would definitely have driven S out here for lessons had I known there was such a great program and teacher available.
S loved the teacher and the lesson. We are looking forward to his improved confidence and ability in the water as we attend the classes weekly!
Wednesday was kinder. I’m loving watching S at kinder this year. He is so much more confident and relaxed around the other kids.
The staff have been really proactive in helping me achieve our number one goal for the year at kinder – to encourage him to interact more with his peers and not depend on the staff. The staff are giving him a much wider berth and doing a great job of initiating play opportunities and then backing away.
Last year, even though he would play with the other kids when guided to do so, he barely knew any of their names and when I asked him about his day he would talk about the staff, not the kids. We’re hoping that we can shift this focus. I am hopeful. I think the main reason he did this was because of failed communication attempts with other kids. If he tried to tell them something and they didn’t understand, he would give up. His speech is so much clearer now and his confidence so much greater, that I am really hoping we’ll see a change in this area.
To help him get to know the other kids a bit better, we have a class photo and S and I sit down and he tells me as many names of the kids as he can. He loves this game and is doing really well at getting to know them by name.
And in a very exciting development, he took himself to the toilet at kinder on Wednesday, without even telling the staff. AND even more exciting was that there was no acccident involved. Woohoo!
Thursday is our quiet day – much needed after a busy week. Unfortunately this also means it’s often the only time I have to schedule in other appointments so it’s not always as quiet as I would like. This Thur baby A had a visit with our super chiro. His shoulder and neck needed a final adjustment post his birth (made all the difference too. He slept almost non-stop that night and has been very chilled out since!)
And even though I want to do my best to not clutter up our Thursdays, I’ve decided to add in a late afternoon swim to help consolidate what S has been learning and also to give M some time in the pool. M is a natural swimmer. He loves the water so much and can paddle away in his swim ring like he’s been doing it all his life. It cuts a little that he finds it so easy when S has been working so hard on these skills for so long and still has a way to go, but at the same time it’s so wonderful watching M enjoy the water and have such a natural affinity with it (I say it was all that swimming I did when I was pregnant with him ). Regardless of how long we swim for, M will still scream and cry when it’s time to leave because he loves it so much. We were there for almost 2 hours on Thursday! We joked a lot about M’s ‘old man hands’ from being in the water for so long and they both slept VERY well that night .
Friday was kinder again. Another lovely morning session. I was busy with a few post birth appointments of my own while S was there and just made it back in time for the end of the session. There were lots of goodbyes as we left and I could already see how he’s starting to connect more with the other kids – but there’s still a long way to go.
SO even though we were all tired, I was pleased that on Friday afternoon S had been invited to a birthday party by one of the new kinder kids. I was a little nervous (yep, nervous about heading to a 5 year old’s birthday party!) because it was a ‘gym’ party. I was worried about how S would go. BUT at the same time I was rapt that his mum had invited S instead of worrying that it might be too tricky (all the boys from the kinder group were invited). It was tricky for S, I will admit. The other kids were often well finished their activities before S was half way through (with my help) but the staff were very helpful and insistent that S got the full experience of what he could do and the other kids were very patient and didn’t seem to mind waiting for S at all.
I was so impressed that we’re looking at MAYBE doing a few more sessions there. I had already heard of this particular ‘kids gym’ program from 2 CPEC mums whose kids attend, so they know a lot about including kids with physical issues and helping them improve their skills. And S really seemed to enjoy the challenge. I have been thinking that something like this would be right up M’s alley too, so maybe I could take them along together?…
We’ll wait and see though if there’s any time in our busy schedule for any more kinder gym. I’d love to do it, but at the same time I’m worried about burning us all out. It’s going to be a big year .
Fortunately, this is a long weekend, so Monday is a day off. And tonight there’s a big camping ‘trip’ scheduled – in the back yard. It’s a good thing we’re not going further afield as the forecast is for rain and possible thunderstorms. If everyone needs to abandon ship, then it will be an easy escape to the comfort of warm beds.
Have a good weekend!