Ambition vs Reality

Have you ever started something, but the goal ended up being a little too lofty? That’s exactly what I’ve done with this blog. I started out this summer studying to be the best teacher I can be ASAP (sorry, not sorry for the rhyme). Then, life crept in and I needed to get a job. Luckily, I found one quickly that would continue to help me on my quest. My studies lagged a bit, but I’ve done a decent job with keeping up with my reflective practices. The lofty goal was trying to consistently put out three blog posts a week. I need to adjust it a little.

The Real Goal

I started writing again to have a digital/virtual resource for my notes, research, and reflections. While I didn’t entirely lose sight of that, I let my lofty goal supersede it a bit. I’m putting the real goal here so I can always refer to it. Having this blog as a resource has worked out well in the past, and I’d like for it to continue to help me along my path.

Reflections

I recently finished my last camp of the summer and went to my first back to school/meet the teacher night. My final week was with Mrs. J at the rec center I had been at most often. We had a pretty large group of kids, but the numbers fluctuated anywhere between 17 to 21. There were five different sets of families, some friends, some familiar faces, and one with special needs.

The kid with special needs was one of the familiar faces and, honestly, working with him on the second week was much easier than the first. First big improvement: he was doing a lot of the building on his own! If he needed help and didn’t get it fast enough (as in before he got frustrated), he would want to quit. I handled it in a couple of different ways. Once, I said that he could take a break and that I would be there as soon as I could to help him. Another time, I let him be done and clean up his build. He did really well during the builds not only because he seemed more interested but also because we found a kit that met his specific wants. He was super excited to have brown tires and a single black #2 axle in with all the red ones.

Of course, there’s more to a summer camp than just the motorized lego builds so it wasn’t all smooth sailing. This little guy became obsessed with a Lego Magikus game. There was at least one day that we ran out of time for him to play, but we had some help dealing with that since the tears came after Mom showed up. He also wasn’t as nice playing the game with the other kids this week. We explained that the other kids are allowed to play, and it would be more fun to let them. I don’t know how long the games lasted but some of the other campers did try to play Magikus with him. He was happiest, however, having the game all to himself. The biggest trouble was on the last day during the bingo game. I made sure he got a card with the green ninja on it since that had been his request the previous week. He made more and more demands though and threw himself on the ground “crying” and red faced when we didn’t meet all of them. Mrs. J and I made a few concessions but then drew a line. Eventually, he calmed down and played the game.

It may not sound like it, but I really enjoyed having that kiddo in camp. His parents seemed to enjoy it too because he’ll be going to the after school program as well. It gave me a glimpse into the life of a special education teacher. I learned what needs I could fill cheaply, what could (or should) be ignored, what to say to the other kids, and how to draw a line and stick to it.

Feedback

I made a blogging goal that was too lofty. To fix it, I’m just going to write when I want to because it furthers my true goal of study and reflection. Have you had a goal in mind in the past and realized that you lost sight of it? Or that you accidentally created an unrealistic one instead? What did you do? What do you think of what I’ve done? Let me know in the comments below.

I’d also love to hear about your own experiences with a child with special needs. This kiddo didn’t come with a warning to us from his mother, a diagnosis, or medication. There were just specific things that he wanted and was vocal about. I could tell they were not just selfish demands but things I needed to do to help this kid adapt and the week to run smoothly. What was your first experience like? How did you handle it? Did you feel prepared? How did you feel afterwards? Please share with me in the comments!

Thank-you.

 

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Sharon, I think you did a great job with your special needs child, especially when you were not told anything about the child! I have worked about 10 retreats with our son’s foundation…The Elisha Foundation. These retreats were such a joy to do. Families with special needs kids are invited to a retreat typically from Thursday night to Sunday morning. This includes siblings as well. I planned and lead the kids’s meeting times while the parents were having their Bible study time. I used VBS curriculum, had one volunteer always with the special needs child. Our families had to fill out a form so we knew more information about that special child, for example, what would trigger meltdowns and etc. You know we live in Prescott Valley now! If you are interested in special needs, come see me! It sounds like your child has a form of Autism. A lot of parents do not want to embrace that diagnosis or have not gotten therapy. With out knowing anything, you did great dealing with him!

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