In my desire to establish a measurable, goal-oriented communication plan, I get a little caught up in structure. In methodology. In creating a reproducible, consistent set of tools. I fall into my own trap of intellectualizing and go so deep I completely lose sight of how to bring it to Owen in any kind of concrete way.
So, in order to rein things in and get moving on something more tangible, I’ll list some ideas of actual activities Owen and his facilitators can embark upon during a typical ‘school day’. These activities would get him out in the community, interacting with others and enjoying the city for all it has to offer. At the same time, his partner would use our communication methods to give Owen opportunities to connect with his surroundings in a more intellectual way. I think he already connects emotionally – but perhaps language will support that too.
(Do we feel more love/fear/happiness/anger if we can say we’re feeling it? Probably not. Probably the opposite. Anyway.)
- Volunteer somewhere. It’s a great way for Owen to be involved in something bigger than himself. I think it’s also good for his helpers – after working with Owen (or any one person) for a while, it’s easy to lose the plot. I’ve seen his helpers get bored, lose initiative, get lazy… I think it’s only natural – so volunteering may give everyone a sense of purpose. A good focus would be animals – so Riverdale Farm, the Humane Society, etc. Owen loves critters of all shapes and sizes.
- Visits to the usual Toronto suspects: ROM, Science Centre, Zoo – all good spots for an occasional visit. (We’ve gone through periods where we go to one a LOT, and it loses its magic…)
- Perform regular chores that have meaning in Owen’s life – clothes shopping, doing laundry, making soup – activities that can give more context to Owen’s everyday experiences
- Nature walks – excellent for him to be out amongst the trees and grass. City air is pretty miserable even for the most hearty of us, and Owen suffers with any kind of extreme temperatures or conditions. Forests offer protection from the wind, the sun, the heat – we’ll need to find wheelchair-accessible paths.
- Swim – great sensory activity. and fun.
- Join a class of some kind. Hard to find other kids during the weekday, but even if it’s with a group of adults or seniors – I don’t think he’d mind. Could be art, pottery, digital photography – anything visual/tactile where he can be part of a larger group. I like the idea of it being NOT specifically for kids.
- Join a weekly homeschooling gathering. Here’s where we find the weekday kids. And often, interesting people.
- See movies. Not something I would usually encourage, but Owen loves them. Especially nature documentaries.
OK. Tapped out of ideas at this late hour. I’ll be thinking out loud for the next few posts, trying to get a handle on what this whole program is supposed to look like.