My six-year-old recently asked me what the word “pressure” means?
Since we watched Disney’s “Encanto,” he’s been humming his favourite moment, when Luisa sings the song “Surface Pressure.”
We had the song on repeat while driving. I told T that when you feel pressure, you feel very worried you might not do a good job.
I thought about how the character Luisa feels the weight of keeping it together for her family.
School has been challenging this fall, with recurring reports of disruptive and negative seeking behaviour and refusal to complete work.
We always anticipated school would be a difficult journey, as it is for kids with FASD; in T’s case, suspected FASD.
Late last November, his CYW told the hubby and I that T told her he thinks he’s stupid and bad.
That comment has weighed on both the hubby and my mind since.
T is a bright kid but the world is often challenging for neurodiverse kids with learning challenges.
When kids – everyone, really, special needs or not – feel they are not able to meet expectations, that will manifest in behaviour, such as anxiety, avoidance (of work) or “bad behaviour.”
We returned to virtual schooling this week due to record high COVID cases.
Speaking of pressure, three days in and the hubby and I feel stressed. You’d think this being our fourth go at this, it’d be easier.
Expectations are higher in Grade 1. The school day is two hours longer, each session is an hour versus 30 minutes last year and the work volume is higher.
Most people will smirk and say it’s Grade 1, how hard can it be? I invite these skeptics to virtual school a child with learning challenges, while balancing a full time job and other familial care.
I burst into tears on Thursday, because I was having a very hard day.
The wonderful thing about life is – and it’s a lesson I hope T will learn – is that every day is a new chance to try again.
Today’s beautiful sunshine and a restful sleep last night have given me an opportunity to reflect on the last three days.
… About what’s working well:
T is mostly sitting down for the sessions and he seems to understand the concepts. He’s participating a little bit in class.
… About what’s challenging:
Getting him to do the work in real time is a struggle and results in tantrums or meltdowns.
I wish he could see that he knows the concepts. On Thursday, after a three hour battle, he finally sat down at 7 pm and let me catch him up on a lesson and work he missed because he was screaming in his room. He zipped through it.
That sounds dandy and all, but I don’t have the time or energy to do this every day if virtual school is inevitably extended!
… About how we’re accommodating him:
The hubby and I didn’t have time to properly prepare because of how sudden the switch to virtual learning happened.
But we’re making modifications. We cleaned up his space and put away a lot of toys during the school day to minimize his distractions – because T is so easily distracted.
We started using a token chart again as an incentive to get him to participate in class.
We asked T’s teacher if it’s all right if we opt out of virtual gym class after lunch and use the time to take him out for fresh air, burn his energy, and reduce his screen time.
We are fortunate to have an organized teacher. She gets how challenging the situation is and has made it easy for parents to catch up after class.
She and T’s CYW are implementing a plan next week for T to have one-on-one sessions with his CYW, if he is having challenges in the larger class.
On Friday, instead of going to virtual gym, T and I went for a walk after lunch.
It was a wonderful break and our first outdoor time since virtual learning resumed.
The puddles in the park from a few days ago had turned into ice because it was super cold.
T enjoyed brushing away the thin snow on top and then sliding on the ice.
There was a nice long stretch of ice on the path home that T enjoyed before we returned to class.
The afternoon session was better. There was still an initial reluctance from T to sit down and he had a tantrum when I stopped a video that he was watching so we could go to the final class.
But he calmed down, listened during class and earned four check marks for participating four times during the hour and two check marks for completing the Baby Yoda drawing during the art class that closed off the week.
The Force was strong with our Padawan that hour. I anticipate the new week will undoubtedly bring out the dark side again, but I savoured that positive light moment.