Thursday, 13 October 2011


Today has been hardwork, well, in some respects.
Today was forest school, and Rye really does seem to struggle with group situations.  He clings to me and hides his head if he's spoken to; he is a reluctant participant and constantly needs jollying along.... I confess my patience did wear thin when he, another young girl and the assistant, (not many at FS today because of lots of illness) went for a walk to find things to make a hedgehog with.  The older children went off looking for firewood.  Anyway, all along the walk Rye kept saying, "I don't want to," and being generally very whiney.  I am not a patient woman with whinning, irritates the buggery bollocks out of me.  Still, I managed to get a few smiles out of him; and he did sort of join in.  The assistant decided to take us on a longer walk than initially planned, in many ways she was showing me around Brockhill, wow, so much bigger than I realised.  Anyway, she took us to a large fallen down oak, the idea being the kids could play and climb on it.

I hate to say it about my own child, but he was pathetic.  It took him forever to get on the log, and it was perfectly within his abilities.  I offered to help, he whined at me.  Then once on it, he clung to it and whined he was scared he'd fall off.  His anxiety had kicked in, and I know when it does, he becomes rather unmanagable.  I did manage to spark his interest in the patterns in the log where the knots etc where; but then we got down to go and have a look at another tree, this one a living oak, but with a huge hole in it, big enough for a child to go inside.

Rye had another anxiety attack, and was deliberately working himself up.  Sigh, I confess my patience snapped at that point and I took him to one side and told him to pack it in, that I did not expect him to go inside the hole in the tree if he didn't want to, but he was to have a look...oh and, "I do not want to hear you say for the rest of the day, Rye, "I don't want to".  "    Saying that, it does seem to have knocked him off the spiral into uncooperativeness, because after that he was a bit better; and even asked if he could stroke a sheep - even if he did change his mind when one did stand still and let us touch it.

Back at the Forest School area the older kids were still foraging for firewood, so the younger 2 got on with making their hedgehogs, once he started doing that, Rye began to blossom, could almost see him relaxing and starting to enjoy himself.  It did spark an idea; and I wonder if he might find it easier to join in, in future, if he's given a piece of clay to play with and manipulate right at the beginning of the session - perhaps that will ease the anxiety?
Rye's hedgehog
Anyway, after this he began to join in more, and when the assistant asked him to look at something  he did go and have a look, rather than refusing immediately.  And he finally went off and joined Anna, who was with the older kids showing them how to make a fire, and when he came back he sat and talked to her a bit
He has a piece of wood that's sort of rocket shape and he was rubbing it along the log, Anna is talking to him about it
And as it the way, just as he was really relaxing and getting into the flow of it, the session was over.  However, he was suddenly in "Forest School Mode" so to speak, and was suddenly really interested in the various leaves, acorns etc on the floor and the walk back from the play area took forever because he kept asking me so many questions.  (The others didn't realise we were still in the woods, they thought we'd taken the short cut to the cafe for some food).  It was really good to see him start to interact with the enviroment again;
Being adventurous.  He seems to be loosing this trait a little and is becoming increasingly anxious and scared of doing things, so it was really good to see him exploring.
Asking me questions about the lake, and pointing at the ducks.
Looking at the plants and asking me what they were, lol I didn't know what this was, obviously part of the umbrella family of plants...not sure which though.... and rather odd to see it in bud when it's Autumn!
A lovely gnarled oak tree, looks like it's starting to hollow out too.  Rye was fascinated.

Once we reached the playpark area, Rye ate his sandwiches and then ran off to play; it was familiar and he was happy.

I need to get him out in the countryside more though; today it was kinda like he'd lost  his affinity for nature and being able to use nature as a "playpark"    He wouldn't climb the fallen log, but he'd climb really high on the climbing frames in the park etc... and I mentioned I might take him to soft play tomorrow afternoon after I've picked up the mindie from nursery; and then said, "Oooh actually, we might go down to the coastal park instead"...and he wailed, and said he didn't want to go and wanted to go to soft play instead... I was, I admit shocked.

An illuminating day; it was really good and Rye has enjoyed himself, and it was lovely to be out and about in the countryside; it was simply a day that also highlighted some of Rye's traits that does suggest to me he's on the spectrum.


Fiona said...

What a lovely, open, honest, and observant post.
Jaquie I often think that as mothers we are the hardest on our own kids, becasue we see them most honestly. We can look beyond their 'quirkiness' and see their limitations.

So from one mother (dealing with a kid 'on the spectrum') to another, what I find works with Emily is allowing her to hold a 'comfort' item in her hand when she is in challenging situations.

Thankfully her current comfort item of choice is either a few strands of wool, or a soft toy manatee. Both of which look 'cute' as opposed to weird. And both of which help her to feel at ease.

So if Rye needs a small tactile reminder to help him feel relaxed and grounded, than I say let him use it.

And well done for realizing that he needs it in the first place.

Joxy said...

Thank you, Fiona. :-)

The Barefoot Crofter said...

James is always reluctant to join in new things, or even some things he has done before , and does the clingy thing. I just let him hold back, as i do know that he likes to observe for a long time before he decides whether or not to join in with an activity. it is very frustrating and i really have to hold back the urge to prod him forward and say "go on - it's fun" kind of stuff, when he clearly doesn't want to. However, i do know that it is fun and that he will enjoy it, so we usually hang around until little by little I manage to involve him and then i can draw back. We went to the police station with the playgroup, and because i was there he held onto me most of the way round, and he wouldn't go and sit in the police car and sound the siren etc, even though i knew he would love to. I noticed another little boy, whose Mum was there, doing the same thing.
Sorry - just rambled off there to no real purpose. Just giving a big hug. xxx

Waffling Mama said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Waffling Mama said...

I totally understand your frustration, and get it myself with Little Dude, it's a perfectly natural reaction as an adult, as we can see that they are capable, but as a child they look at things from a totally different perspective.....I always try to remind myself of this when I'm getting annoyed with Little Dude....Although I admit my patience also has it's limits ;) lol xx