I know I shouldn’t really be annoyed about this, but I am. I am even pissed off at something that I have often wished people WOULD do. Right, let me start at the beginning.
My son loves jumping on his trampoline. He loves flipping and jumping and it makes him very happy. So I had the clever idea to find a trampoline class where he could learn to do it properly. Although it’s not a team sport, he would get another chance to try doing something in a class that would be using his energy productively. I figured he wouldn’t be too anxious about it because he is pretty good at bouncing already. So I sent out some enquiries to a place nearby. As I always do, I explained the situation with my son so that they would be prepared for his behaviours. I got a polite and informative response basically telling me that they weren’t willing to accommodate a child like him. They have waiting lists and their classes are full and blah blah blah, we don’t want your kid he’s too hard to deal with.
See, I’m annoyed. I shouldn’t be because I am always wishing people would be upfront about it and not let me get him there only to find out that they can’t cope and then he gets disappointed, so realistically they did the right thing by me, and him for that matter. What I’m annoyed about is how hard it is to find places who will give him a chance. There is no way I can ever get him to have positive group class experiences if people won’t give him a go. By give it a go I don’t mean letting him try it their way and fail. He isn’t capable of going to a class he’s excited about and not acting crazy. He is just not there yet. He really needs some patience and understanding for a couple of goes until his excitement reduces and he can settle and slowly start to join in and follow the instructions.
I get that the above is not an easy thing for any class to accommodate, but his tap dance teacher and class managed it. Now he goes every week and he follows instructions and joins in (mostly). They understand that if he wanders off or stops doing what they are doing, they just ignore him and keep going until he gets bored wandering around and joins in again. Our end goal is to get him to engage the whole time eventually, but the only way to achieve that goal is for him to keep having positive experiences when he does join in and not have negative reactions when he disengages because that triggers his anxiety and then he won’t even try at all.
So now I’m just sad and annoyed that it has to be so hard to find things that he’d enjoy and then I have try and convince people to give him a go and not expect him to immediately follow their structure and rules. I always offer to come in and help out so that they don’t have to leave the other kids if he moves away, but often they don’t understand that I can make that work.
On a slightly better note, with it being school holidays, he’s been enjoying some ‘down’ time, which interestingly has been quite educational. He’s been doing colouring in of his own choice. He’s been playing Monopoly with me and Chess with Daddy. He’s been playing with his toy cars independently on the rug and making up little conversations. It’s been lovely. I keep trying to organise interesting activities and play dates, but last week he spent 3 nights with one of his grandparents and he’s been ‘recovering’ ever since (his words!). He said he’d had enough of going places and doing things and being shouted at and just needs a rest. So, he’s been doing just that!
Maybe next term I’ll have some success at finding a new group activity he can try out.
At the end of term we went to a games night run by a gifted kids group. He was so highly excited by it all that he couldn’t settle and ran around like a crazy nut and wouldn’t play any of the games or join in. He just slid around the floor. He did meet two little boys that he liked, but he couldn’t engage in the games with them very well due to his high level of impulsive excitement. We will try again next month and hope that he will have more success at calming himself down.