As I mentioned, we just recently passed our son’s fourth birthday. This meant that his IFSP through the Baltimore Infants and Toddlers Program ended and he was transferred to an IEP through the Baltimore City schools. Because he didn’t qualify for ESY, we weren’t willing to totally disrupt him by transferring him straight into the assigned program at the public school.
This did mean, though, that his schedule changed drastically anyway. And even this wasn’t all sunshine and roses.
Before the IEP transition, his schedule was fairly fixed – he had three-day-per-week pre-school on Monday-Wednesday-Friday mornings. His speech therapist came by on Mondays and Thursdays, and his special instruction happened Tuesday and Thursday mornings. (PT and OT came in on more diminished schedules, once and twice per month respectively, and usually Tuesday or Thursday.) We were with the same providers for most of the last year, since he aged out of the Parent-Infant Education (PIEs) program he had been assigned to since the start of the IFSP, so these were familiar faces to him.
Now, Tuesdays and Thursdays are mostly empty, and he just has those mornings at the JCC… and those are ending in another week.
One problem we’ve noticed is that he’s gotten more destructive since his schedule ‘opened up’. We’ve gotten used to the fact that he’ll ask for Sesame Street (which involves a continuing, and increasingly upset, chorus of “Sunny Days!”) if he’s bored and doesn’t have something to do, or if he’s tired. He’s taken to drawing on anything available, with anything available. We’ve had forms covered in crayon, and pen all over some of the television tray tables. We’ve even had homemade tattoos (ala Twitter’s @HonestToddler) which have required either serious scrubbing with wet-wipes or a trip to the shower. He’s taken to poking through one box in the living room with a pen, though we’re not quite sure where that behavior came from…
It’s not as if I think he’s trying to consciously destroy things – if anything, he’s still (in his good moods) willing to help clean up as well. He limits his destruction to inanimate objects, so there’s no major worries. Books, blocks and papers can be replaced. He’s loving towards the cats, and towards his little brother and people he knows. It’s just hard to see our normally happy and reasonably compliant child suddenly turn into a little whirling dervish of danger when he’s given more unstructured time to deal with.
Now, his schedule’s going to become more regulated again in three weeks when he starts his summer camps, so that will (I hope) put things back into some semblance of order.