by SARA ERLING
It never fails, year after year, while we think – and our NACD parents think – that it is going to be a good and productive summer, it ends up being crazy with baseball, soccer, camp, barbecues, and vacations. Life as we know it gets in the way. Whether I am talking to a parent on the phone or in an evaluation, they have this voice of guilt and almost hide their faces. But guess what? I am guilty of it, too. I scheduled my kids to have an evaluation with Bob this month, and I thought to myself that I might as well just shoot myself in the foot! Do I really want to do this? The answer is –YES I do!
Why? Well first of all, I need a kick in the pants. It is summer and I know that my kids need some good input. Secondly, I need to know where they are in their development so that I can make sure I am giving them the RIGHT input. Thirdly, I need him to tell me what my priorities are. As a full-time working mom of three, my time with them is precious. I want to make sure it is spent on the right pieces.
I also have to look at how to schedule it in. With my long “to-do” list, where can I find the time? At my house we are early risers, thanks to my daughter who likes to wake up the whole house by yelling from her crib, “MAMA!!!” While I would love to catch a few extra zzz’s….it just is not possible. While I get ready for work in the morning with coffee in hand, I have my boys doing something! One does his TLP while the other does Simply Smarter. Then l have my oldest read independently while Marc and I play with word cards in my bathroom. I might have my oldest do some math while I throw sequences with Marc, as he sits on my bathroom counter. (The boys are currently motivated with money so they earn nickels for every high score they get on Simply Smarter or for getting a higher-level sequence right with me face-to-face). Do you have the neighbor kids come to play? If so, do sequences with all of them and spray water guns at them when they get them correct. Or grapes, or water balloons, or whatever! Have fun with them! Sequencing does not have to be sit-down-at-the-table-and-drill-it-until-both-of-you-are-sick-of-it! Do you have an iPad yet? iPhone? iTouch? Boy, are there some great apps for kids! I love the voice memo application for my iPhone, as this is where I record my audio tapes, and then they listen to them while we are in the car. Technology has come a long way, and it sure does make those things a whole lot easier to implement.
In our family, we do the cognitive activities in the morning and save the easier things like going for a walk/run or skipping or hanging or tapes for evening. With my daughter, who is 15 months, I enlist my boys to help. While I get dinner ready, they are doing books and flashcards and teaching her all kinds of new tricks (i.e., teaching one-step directions). Do we get everything done? No. Do I have boys who love to do it every day? Of course not. But we keep trying. I stay consistent with it so that they know that this is to be expected of them (at least 5 days a week)! It has become a part of our life, and they might not appreciate it now, but one day they will.
I know that many of you have children with complex issues, some with more than one. We all have different circumstances. Just know that we are parents, too. We understand, and we want to help you! If you are struggling, tell us– let us break it down for you. If you need a kick in the pants, we can do that, too. If you need help to implement your child’s program, work to find it. Many of you have chapter directories – contact those families. If you don’t, talk to your evaluator or coach and find out how we can help you make that happen. Use our Facebook page to get ideas. Look at your schedule and make program a priority – even if that means only a limited program. We can do this together!
Have a fun and safe summer!