Like with every summer, we always find ourselves wondering…”Now What?” Eddie LOVES routine and seeks it out in every aspect of his day. If we say “time for lunch”…he answers with, “And Then?” Or, “After that?” He simply wants to know what his day looks like, and the concept of “free-time” isn’t something he handles well. I think I talk about the lack of routine in our house every summer, and how we can’t seem to accommodate all of Eddie’s “routine” needs.
Even during the school year, he’ll want to know his entire weekend schedule until he goes back to school. He doesn’t like surprises, and really doesn’t like when we answer his scheduling questions with “I don’t know” or “What do you want to do?” When given such a reply, he echoes our response, and then we get an angry rendition of the song perched at the top of his mind.
In an effort to help him manage his free-time, we’ve tried a couple different communication tools that give him a menu of options. It’s either us listing off every possible activity, or we can program an iPad to do it for us using accessibility features; specifically Voiceover. Either way, his “menu” is requested over a dozen times a day in the summer, and it’s our job to fill the menu with preferred activities or choices.
Surprisingly, two days after school was out, Eddie started asking for Braille. This was a surprise for sure, because he had never requested we work on braille at home. He’d request a story now and then, but not specifically braille. I jumped on my e-mail to ask his teacher of the visually impaired (TVI) where they left off…and hope to maximize his interest.
Mostly, we will continue to take family trips (headed to the beach this week), and build in activities that are indeed spontaneous, but also to Eddie’s liking. This picture of him at his sister’s softball BBQ shows that our summer events aren’t always tailored for him, but his smile proves he still can have a good time. Sometimes just getting out of the house is all this kid needs.
I’m always curious how other families handle the summer with their children who are blind. What activities do you plan/ or not plan? How do you help children that crave the routine a school schedule provides? I’m sure you’re insight would be helpful to me…and other parents, too.