My bands used to do our local Memorial Day Parade. It took us a long time to prepare for it (we started in February), it was always scorching hot, and parents often complained about it. After being accused of exposing their children to heat stroke for making them wear blue jeans a few years back, I decided that this gig wasn’t really all it was cracked up to be.
As always, when breaking with longstanding tradition in the education community, it is best to simultaneously propose a replacement activity. Instead, we decided to visit a local nursing home and perform for real veterans.
This will be our third year, and I think it serves our elders well. They really enjoy seeing the huge group come in and play for them. Many end up in tears because it brings back memories of their own or their children’s experiences with school music programs. They insist on shaking my hand, and tearfully thanking me, which always gets me.
It also serves the kids well, to remember these elders, to see how much they enjoy their performance, to understand what it must be like to have to wait for your entertainment to come to you.
On this Memorial Day, I’m thankful for the service of our veterans, and also the elder community who supported those veterans.
A couple of years ago, he made Fabulous Babysitter buy him a St. Pat’s-themed head band with orange pigtails that got some pretty strange looks when he wore it. He was oblivious, of course, but the rest of us weren’t. This is one of the tough parts of being an autism parent (or caregiver, or teacher). We don’t want to deny them anything that makes them happy (at least nothing as benign as this), but we also don’t want them to be targets for the less compassionate public at large.
A few years ago, it was a beanie (complete with propeller!) that The Boy had found around Halloween at a costume store. Harmless, right? Until I got the note home from his teacher that he was being teased, and could we please keep it at home…
And part of me screamed, “No! Let’s concentrate on the teasers and not the one being teased!” while the other part said, “Oh, for sure. I so get it.”
Fabulous Babysitter took The Boy out on Fun Friday, and he wanted to get some St. Patrick’s day “stuff”, and he dragged her from place to place (although she would never call it that), until he remembered the exact store they had purchased the pigtail-headband the last time. And they purchased it again. And again, we ask ourselves - is it better to let him be himself, or help him to assimilate?
It’s that time of year to give gifts to the many, many people who help your child through his or her day, as well as to the other side of the family (you know, the one you don’t want to spend too much money on, because really it’s the ex’s job to buy for them, but it’ll never happen, and you don’t want your kid to feel bad for not bringing presents?…).
But buying gifts for all of those people would be outrageous. So what is a budget-minded, single mom of a special needs kid to do? Get crafty…
As mentioned in a previous post, you can make your own sugar body scrub from fairly common ingredients like sugar, honey, tea, and vanilla.
You can get yourself a metal stamping set (like this one from Harbor Freight), some washers (but probably better to get actual jewelry making metal from the craft store: zinc-coated washers are too hard), and some carabiners from your local big box store (they run about a dollar apiece) to make personalized key chains.