Varying It Up
The sun shone down warm and constant on us during a 9am walk (especially on the part of the walk that involves walking across the very large parking lot of a drugstore and a gym, with nary a tree around). So we were caught (though not unpleasantly) by surprise when, a couple of hours later at the beach, we got so thoroughly wind-blown—-
—that we made an emergency purchase of new sweatshirts for Jim and Charlie. Jim chose them, because they have a fish design (I'm the only one in this household whose last name is Chew…….) on the front and also because they're green.
Since Charlie was persuaded to go sans winters, he hasn't been wanting to wear any jackets or sweatshirt, regardless of the temperature; for awhile (as you can see here) he kept wanting to wearing a pair of fleece gloves outside, but he stopped doing that some time last week (I'm not sure why; ok by us). So I was dubious about him donning his new sweatshirt, regardless of how cool it might be.
And then he pulled the sweatshirt right on and rather seemed to enjoy wearing it.
I'm taking Charlie's willingness to wear the sweatshirt as one more sign of how accommodating—flexible—he has been this past week, plus. Without particularly trying to, we've been asking him to accommodate to our needs, such as waiting for a set period of time before going to the beach, so we could get some work matters done. He was been quite willing to do, without any sort of fuss.
I think the timer (on the iPod touch) has been helping a lot. It is (keeping in mind a comment from Regina) us who've been initiating use of the timer; something to work towards would be (just thinking as I type here) Charlie getting the timer on his own, setting it, and therefore being more in control of waiting; of knowing that he can be in control of waiting.
On the other hand, telling Charlie that we needed to go on a short walk rather than a long one as it was just before bedtime led to a very difficult half an hour of difficult things. (The steamy, muggy air—predicting a thunderstorm—did not help.) We got through it but it's always tough to have a peaceful weekend and then 'excitement' (I know, a euphemism) at the end.
I've been talking some with Charlie's teachers about varying the walks—the distances, the routes. I'm also thinking of using some visual cues (photos? arrows? lengths of time?) to help Charlie understand that 'sometimes we do this walk, sometimes that.'
Because really, the walks and bike rides and all the physical exercise we've been doing with Charlie have been immensely positive. He's clearly got a lot of energy and needs an outlet for it; we think he's been asking so much for walks because he's seeing a connection between physical exertion and self-regulation. The fact that Charlie's learned that there are things he can do to calm himself and not have full-out difficult 'neurological storms,' is a huge thing in and of itself and one to start building on.
You can see what we'll be working on teaching this week, and in weeks to come.