I sort of joke about packing the kids full of sugar, but this time of year there are all sorts of people popping out of the woodwork wanting to feed my students. And we’re not talking broccoli and carrots, it is usually full-on junk. Cupcakes, candy of every sort, ice cream, chips and whatever. No other program in high school is supposed to have a party but mine seems to be the exception. The school community enjoys venting their holiday spirit on the kids, which is nice but really disruptive in a lot of ways.
The holidays are tough on everyone but especially with students with varying degrees of disabilities. The various flashy Christmas lights and colors really appeal to most people, but to those with sensory and attention deficits, it can easily become overwhelming. Our room is pretty heavily decorated for the season, which gives us a variety of Christmas props to use for communication lessons. However all the pageantry is so distracting that there is very little focusing going on. Not that there is that much, even in the best of circumstances! But in addition to the food and the decorations is the constant stream and parade of people who want to come to our room. All. The. Time. While other rooms have their doors closed during instructional time and keep outside disruptions to a minimum, it seems like everyone feels they have a license to walk into our room. Sometimes it’s to use our kitchen, sometimes to use our bathroom. Sometimes it’s just walking in from the outside or out from the inside. Even though there is an entrance door leading into the hallway right next to our room, they want to come in here.
I sometimes think I come off being a scrooge about wanting to lessen the impact of the holidays on our kids and trying to stick to something resembling a normal schedule and routine. But stick a fok in it, we are not getting anywhere for the rest of the week. They are done. We are done. I just don’t have the stamina anymore to fight it!
As far as my own boys, Thomas and Percy, they are all excited about the holidays. They are looking forward to seeing their grandma (and her cat) when she comes up. We have traditonally minimized the involvement with Santa by exchanging and opening gifts on Christmas Eve. Us adults actually have a shot at sleeping in whilst the boys play with their new toys! And they seem totally okay with it and there just isn’t a whole lot of discussion about it so we’re not out scrooging Christmas for other kids who are into the Santa Claus tradition. Percy’s birthday is also during the break a few days after Christmas which also diverts a lot of attention away from whatever Santa issues might crop up. Getting gifts for them is relatively easy..at least if we get them whatever they want! Percy is fairly easy going and like cars, trucks and musical stuff. He’s thinking Guitar Hero. I’m thinking *I* might like Guitar Hero!LOL! Thomas will like anything having to do with trains, specifically the Thomas the Train franchise. We’re looking at trying to expand his interests a bit this year with something like lincoln logs or legos or something along those lines. He like computer games, too, but I haven’t found one that hits the spot, yet.
As for Jane, she’s pretty easy, too. The other day she was complaining about how hard it was to clean the kitchen floor after all of us had been baking so I’m getting her a brand new mop and mop bucket.