This week, WordPress issued the challenge is to take pictures of today. I’ve decided to participate every day this week to show each unique “today.”
Today is Tuesday. Today is the first day that Philip attended the summer class we enrolled him in, “Sensory Needs and Strategies.” It is being offered by the clinic that contracts with Philip’s preschool to provide occupational and physical therapists. I used my last few hours of vacation for the fiscal year so that I might take him. I wanted to find out what he would be doing and learn the routines for the class. The class will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays for ninety minutes for the next four weeks. If Philip seems to enjoy it, we will sign him up for the next four-week session.
The class is being held in a town twenty-one miles from our house. Philip didn’t seem to mind the drive. Every time I glanced back, he was looking out the window at the passing scenery. We got to the facility twenty minutes early since, uncertain how long the drive would take, I left the house an hour before the class was to begin.
After a quick walk around the parking lot to stretch our legs, we went inside the building. The clinic where we were headed was on the second floor. The hallways and stairwell were not fully lit, and Philip immediately became anxious. I kept reassuring him each time he stood frozen on the stairs. I knew he wanted me to pick him up, but I refrained. We eventually made it to the top floor, both on our own two feet.
Philip was nervous when I led him through the doorway, but he relaxed once he saw the familiar and fun equipment in the therapy room. The therapists were still preparing the space, however, so we were shown to a library at the end of the hall. I filled out some paperwork while Philip played.
I decided I better change Philip’s diaper before the class began. I didn’t expect that toileting was built into the morning. Philip whimpered when we went into the bathroom, once again nervous about entering a unfamiliar, confined space. He was nervous, but not wailing. I count that as progress. Even better was his eagerness to use the step stool to access the sink and wash his hands after.
By the time Philip had his new diaper on, it was time to drop him off in the therapy room. I didn’t get to take any pictures because they let me know they prefer parents to leave. I understand, but it was hard to go. I’ve met the co-owner of the clinic, and she has worked with Philip at the preschool, but I didn’t know the other staff who would actually be leading the sessions. That made me think that they don’t know Philip. I wanted to stay to talk to them about Philip, to make sure they knew what to expect and techniques to use with him.
I realized that I can’t be there all of the time. I can’t control everything, so I just had to leave. I was surprised by how hard this was for me. When Philip started preschool, I wasn’t there to drop him off on his first day. While I was anxious about his first day, the anxiety was diffused by distance. Today, I was right there. I just had to walk down the stairs and out the door by myself. I imagined that I was feeling as nervous as Philip did when he cautiously climbed those same stairs.
I sat in my car during the class and read a book. Fortunately, it was a good little mystery, so I wasn’t constantly checking the time. Maybe I checked once or twice.
When the alarm on my phone alerted me that the class would end in ten minutes, I put down my book and headed toward the building. I saw that Philip and the other boy in the class were in the outdoor playground. I stood and watched from a distance. Philip appeared to be smiling. It was hard to tell as he ran from one end to the other. I think it was actually time to go inside and the staff was trying to catch him. I could relate.
I made it back upstairs before Philip. The owner reported that he had done well. I learned that each week will have its own theme. This week the theme is the beach. Today, they played in and painted with sand. The staff is hoping for warmer weather on Thursday so the boys can play with a water table. Philip is a fan of both sand and water, so I’m sure he will have fun.
On the one hand, I had expected more children to be enrolled. I was a little disappointed to see there is only one other child, a boy that looks to be about eight. I was hoping that, in addition to the sensory activities, Philip would get some socialization. However, I can’t complain about the one-on-one attention that Philip will be receiving.
After a deep pressure activity to calm the boys down from their outdoor play, it was time to leave. There were more lights on in the hallway and stairs, so Philip went down the steps with more confidence than he had climbed them when we arrived.
I guess I was a bit more confident, too.