Getting kids out the door to the bus every morning can be challenging enough for most families. However, when kids have special needs, the challenge is even greater. Parents of kids with special needs perform a delicate dance each day – taking into account the individual needs of each child while also making sure necessary tasks are accomplished.
Take this morning for instance. When I told Levi to make his lunch, he ignored me and kept playing. I set the timer and again instructed Levi to make his lunch. This time he came out of his room and threw a few choice words my way. “Levi, you have five minutes to make your sandwich. If you don’t, I’ll put a roast beef sandwich in your lunch kit for you.” (Levi is very particular about his lunches and does NOT like roast beef sandwiches.) With a minute to spare, his sandwich was in his lunch kit. His older sister even had him smiling and singing along to a silly song from a Paddington Bear movie.
As soon as I showed up with Levi’s hearing aids, the smile vanished. Levi covered both
his ears. “Levi, why don’t you want your hearing aids in today?” No response. I lifted his hand off his left ear and immediately an elbow took its place. “Levi, I need you to tell me why you don’t want your hearing aids in.” Still no response. I remembered the school was having some issues with Levi’s FM system – more than one piece of equipment on the same frequency which resulted in Levi hearing instructions from another classroom. “OK, Levi. You need to wear one hearing aid today. Your right one doesn’t have the FM on it. How about if I put that one in for you?” Levi looked at me, still not totally convinced. However, he did allow me to put his right hearing aid in.
“Time for jackets!” Four kids raced for jackets. Levi went to his room. I helped my three-year-old daughter put on her snowsuit and found Levi’s mitts and toque. I placed them on the floor next to his backpack. Levi was still in his room. As I entered his room, Levi hit the floor. It was clear he was heading under the bed. I caught him and sat him on my lap. “Levi, it’s time to go to school.” He shook his head. All morning Levi had been telling me by his actions that he didn’t want to go to school. Time was ticking. I knew the bus was coming. What should I do?