Great Expectations…..we all have them for our children. What we want them to achieve the goals we have set for them. I know I do. I hope that each year at this time, I can do a quick look over my shoulder at the past year in school and life think where Elizabeth was then and now.
By then and now I mean from September to June, Those are my markers of a year. Maybe others use different markers of time, such a birthdays and most likely the majority simply use the calendar and mark time by months. But for me it is the school calendar that I use. So having said that…
I find myself doing just that check this time of year. I find my self saying “Last June, we were doing this and that, but this year we need to do this” Or I find myself saying “last June we did this, I haven’t seen her do that in a while, maybe we ought to review this again” I can handle those thoughts because to me the first one is when we can have the challenge of adding in something new to our summer routine, something that is next on my ever present agenda. I can even handle to second thought because to me, it means that the task or topic just hasn’t been “brought to currency” in a while, so we need to go over it a few times and all will be well.
It is the last variation on my check list that usually troubles me so much…it is the one that goes like this ” Last June, we were doing this and this year she is still struggling to do it.” Yep that is the one that gets me. To me it can mean many things (and yes this is truly the kind of mental workout I give my brain on a regular basis with my thoughts on Elizabeth), it means that for some reason we were not able to help Elizabeth learn this task or topic over the course of a year. This could be for any number of reasons and no on reason will ever be the total cause. Elizabeth’s dyspraxia and the effect it has on her reasoning and memory play such big role in all she does, so I know that in some cases, she just does not process certain things needed to master a topic, skill or task quickly. I know that it can take months and months of trying something sometimes to get that memory of the task/skill mastered and then even with that done, there are days the task and skill will be “lost” only turn up again three days later.
The road with dyspraxia is a tough tough one. Those who have a child with this disorder know that daily struggles and exhaustion our children feel from just making it through a typical day let alone using extra energy to master a new skill.
Going back for a second, as we are trying to master the skill and struggling, for Elizabeth her anxiety and sensory issues from her SPD will start to show. She will start to shut down after a while, thus making any more learning at that time a really hard thing to do. Then just because the association between that task we are trying to learn and this anxiety has been made, the next time the task comes up, Elizabeth will automatically feel anxious. That is never a good thing.
So having said all that, having given myself and you the very reasons why there are still struggles with certain skills/topics, I can say that if I have too many items that fall into this category, then I start to feel very bad. I know it is not logical, or even necessary but I still do.
Our children accomplish so much with the help of devoted teachers and therapists. But what happens at home or the time away from therapy is where the harder work begins, it is where we as parents/caregivers take what is learned in therapy and carry it over to day to day life, in day to day conditions, and this is why I guess my great expectations of my June review can be kind of tough. At least for me, I find myself looking long and hard at things, feeling many things and then working through those feelings.
I usually use the first two weeks on summer as break time for us all, no real therapy, no real summer school work, just time off.(unless there is an need for sensory input, in which case I will bring out the brush, guide her to the barbells we use to give some good in put or direct her to the swing outside) I use this time to think, feel and regroup.
For those that follow my blog…and thank you so much if you do, you will have noticed a distinct lack of posts recently even on my book’s facebook page. It is because I was in this thinking process, feeling so many things. Working through all of it. But today is Monday, the beginning of our third week off. Time to restart…time to work a bit, play a bit more and readdress some of those areas that she is still struggling with. Time to breath, time to begin again.
I have to be honest, I will probably never stop putting those goals on our list to do. I, like you believe in my child, those great expectations will always be part of what I wish for and want for Elizabet
These two weeks are not always the easiest, some years they aren’t so bad, this year was a bit tough as she is older and the skills/topics are more complex. But like all of us who are raising these special children, we feel so much, so much of the time. It is what we do after we feel all these things that counts. Wishing you all peace and strength this week.