Monday morning, we woke up to find the blizzard had come to an end, but boy howdy did we have a lot of snow. Henry’s therapy was called off, it was a snow day at school for Amelia, and a student review I was supposed to attend at CU Denver was also cancelled.
This was all a very good thing because our neighborhood’s streets were nothing resembling plowed and it still looked pretty tough to get around the area in general. But the kids were excited to have a snow day, and to finally be able to play in the snow. They were out there right after breakfast and had lots of fun.
And back inside for hot cocoa afterward.
Henry was excited for the day off, but we also do see that he can struggle a little on days without structure. Henry loves schedules, so Erin had the great idea of making better daily use of the visual magnet schedule he often uses with us and for therapy.
We sat down with him and worked out different events for the day…playing, TV time, snack time, sensory time, meals, etc. He responded really well. At each step of the day, he’d stop and say, “Let me check the schedule.”
With therapy, we know that Henry is working hard to learn ways to self-regulate and adapt to eventual school settings with peers, but we consider it just as important for us to learn more about how Henry processes things and ways we can best support him and help him along. We noticed a pattern of times Henry would have meltdowns, and often they would follow a sudden unexpected curveball in daily routine.
That’s not to say he is so rigid as to not be able to handle any changes. He just likes to visualize a schedule so he knows what to expect and can better process changes. And one of the things both we and his therapists work on is the flexibility to accept changes when they come up. But it helps him a lot to actually see the change take place on his visual schedule.
So even though it was a pretty free form day, just having little schedule check-in points helped Henry out a lot. On this particular day, there were several points on the schedule for outside play. I think they were out in that snow three or four times. Here they are taking turns rolling down a snow drift.
As for me, I got caught up on some work, helped Henry through a Zoom session with his occupational therapist in the afternoon, and then made some dinner. It was a fun new recipe for chicken tenders marinaded in pickle brine and then breaded in almond flour. It was really good and a great new find for the recipe box.
I find the small victories mean a lot in the age of COVID. Everything’s askew and sometimes being a parent can feel like trying to thread a needle in a tornado, but you take the points where you can. And a good batch of pickle chicken that Amelia actually ate is worth a point or two in my book.