Saturday, July 11, 2015

Some Good News from School

Kai’s inability to handle frustrating situations has been an ongoing challenge. So it was a very pleasant surprise to get the following email from a staff member at Kai’s middle school:
Kai experienced a frustrating occurrence that involved another student on the outing. While at the bowling alley, I gave all students 4 quarters to play a few arcade games. After Kai had put 2 quarters into a game, another student sat in the playing spot and played the game, thus blocking Kai from playing the game he'd just paid for. Kai came directly to me and let me know what had happened and asked me to replace the quarters he'd lost. He communicated effectively and calmly. At the same time, the peer and his aide approached us to attempt to talk and Kai was not ready to interact with the student. He was quickly becoming frustrated with both the situation, as well as his glasses were bothering him. There was also a lot of environmental stimuli that were, potentially, further promoting his disregulation.

Kai did such a great job tolerating all of these potential triggers and stayed calm (or close to it!) the entire time. Once he'd taken some quiet time in the van, he self-initiated an apology to the student, saying, "I'm sorry I lost my cool back there!" The student then apologized to him for playing on his game. It was a really heartwarming moment, as well as an affirmation of Kai's ability to avoid becoming overly disregulated in these types of situations. It was great to see this skill emerge during a situation that could have been a major trigger for him and in a very public setting.

I wanted to let you know how great he did and how proud we were to see him "keep his cool" in the community and repair with the student without staff prompting or support. GO KAI!!! :)
It was the most encouraging and heartwarming news we’ve gotten about Kai in quite some time. Is this is just the beginning of him turning a corner in being able to regulate himself?

Here’s hoping.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Our 4th of July

Kai was awarded a free ticket to the Six Flags theme park in our area for completing a reading program. With all of the rain and cool weather we've had to start the summer, and often having dogs that need our attention, it was difficult finding a time to spend a day at the amusement park.

It turned out that the 4th of July was the perfect opportunity. Kai doesn't yet care to ride on rollercoasters, so he wanted to spend the whole day at the waterpark. And the weather one of our first warm summer weekend days, which made it perfect for getting splashed all day.

I was worried that it might be extra crowded on the holiday, but the line of cars into the parking lot was not so long. We had bought our tickets (for my wife and I) online just before leaving home, so we were looking forward to a quick entry into the park. But when we got to the gate, my wife's ticket wasn't accepted by the scanner. We explained that we had just bought our ticket, but the worker directed us to the information booth.

The line there was longer, and much slower moving. Kai started to get upset.

"How long do we have to wait in this stupid line?!"

I had the same question, but tried not to act as impatient.

He kept whining and asked to use my phone. Kai had lost his electronics privileges for an incident at school, but after it became apparent that our wait would be extensive, I relented and let him use my phone. It wasn't his fault that we had an unexpected wait, and I didn't want the whole day to go downhill before we ever really got started.

After 45 minutes, we finally got to the front of the information line, where the worker told us that my wife's ticket was "reregistered" and we should try again. We went back to the gate, where her ticket again was rejected. But the worker there let us all in after we start to explain the situation. Phew! I don't think any of us would have been able to stay calm if we had to endure any more waiting.

We hurried our way over to the waterpark portion of the park and chose our first slide. The line was not long so we quickly got to the top and was able to get on a tube without much of a wait.

It was a fun ride, and all of our agitation over the entry was forgotten. The following photo was taken shortly after we came down the first time.

We were able to quickly make our way up and down several more slides as it wasn't yet crowded. And when it finally did get more crowded, we took a break for lunch before going on a few more slides. It was a fun afternoon at the waterpark.

But our day wasn't over. We still had to go see the fireworks. It was the 4th go July after all.

We came home, had dinner, and then went to the fireworks area in our community and staked out a spot. We played some games while we waited.

It was a good show.

And then we came home and lit a few sparklers.

It was definitely a full, fun Fourth of July. Hope you had a nice one, too.

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