I’ve mentioned before how much I love the programs for children with special needs at the JCC.
No, not just because they decided, against all sane judgement, to let me take over their blog for a day, though let’s be honest – anyone crazy enough to do that is my kind of people.
No, it’s because they get him.
This week is spring break in the local schools – ever since the city and county managed to get their act together on calendars, they’ve at least managed to have most of their breaks at the same time. So, Gateway is closed this week along with all the schools, and the Monster is, as usual, registered for Schools Out at the JCC. It gives him structure when he desperately needs it, and also fills in one of his favorite activities (swimming) so he’s not struggling against the normal vacation chaos. (This is even with the fact that they’re doing “A Taste of J Camp” this week, which means two field trips and a different program every day to feature each of their different camps.)
Yesterday, though, was a weird day because the wife and I had theater tickets. Could I, she asked, go pick the Monster up at the J so she could get things done around the house? (You’d think that people actually expect us not to have a child-made mess, when they come over to watch the obviously existing kids. Especially her mother.) So I left work early, took a meeting in the car on my way over to the J, and while I had 3 minutes between that one and another one, dashed inside to check the Monster out on overnight parole and get him back into the car. This took a little longer, as I had a conversation with his one-on-one about how he seemed to be a little bit on edge or upset today, which is a little out of character for him but nothing too unusual. We decided that it was a one-off, and so I tried to bundle him out as S, the director of special needs programs for the JCC, popped in.
“So,” said S, “he was making elephant noises today.”
“He does that, sometimes,” I said. Which he does, among other noises he makes when he’s a little upset.
“It was new for us,” she said, as if it was perfectly normal for a seven year old to be making sounds like a young, trumpeting elephant. And this is why I really like the JCC – no matter what happens (shy of the Monster biting or hitting someone), they just accept it and him, and life goes on.
And yes, he went back today and will again tomorrow. Likely elephant noises and all.