June 25, 2008 by Marj Hatzell
It’s not exactly a secret that Bug Boy struggles with fine motor activities. In fact, he avoids them at all costs. The support that he receives at school mostly focuses on his writing, spacing and letter formation, since he is reading about four levels above what he is able to write. The boy has some fantastic ideas and is very creative but there is always a breakdown when it comes to using his hands to demonstrate his knowledge. The month-long Titanic project that Bug Boy completed at the end of the year was a real lesson in patience, my friends. My patience. An hour every night of complaining and crying and whining to write three sentences.
When it came time to sign up for summer activities, our local recreation association met our needs. They run a great soccer and baseball program and have other low-pressure activities as well. The coaches are all friendly and supportive and Bug Boy loves attending activities. Their summer club is great, it runs five weeks for half-days and is only $300. Believe me, that’s a bargain around here. The local “STARS” program is that PER WEEK, and as much as I’d love Bug Boy to do science experiments and swimming and computer programming, I could not justify spending that kind of money. Oh, and there was the little issues of us not HAVING the money. Especially since we are still planning on driving to Utah in August.
One of the optional activities (meaning, extra money) for summer club is a SPLASH art class. I mentioned it to Bug Boy, who decided he did NOT want to do extra soccer this time. He wanted to wait until fall to do sports again but was very interested in the art class. I was surprised, since he literally avoids anything that involves using his hands. Except video games. And matchbox cars. But I digress. I discussed what the class entailed, explained that it was a week long and Bug Boy was enthusiastic. No, he was OUT OF HIS HEAD with excitement. He could not WAIT to take this art class. And you know what that means, right? He didn’t want to go on the first day.
Too bad, I said. I paid money. He was going, I didn’t care if I had to drag him in there screaming. Which I did. Well, he stopped screaming in the car because I threatened to take away everything he holds dear for a week if he didn’t stop screaming (Wii, computer). And we went in and he pouted. And when it was time to pick him up, he did not want to leave. In fact, he BEGGED to stay longer. I quickly browsed his projects for the day and was impressed! Typically, he makes something that is at least the same color as the other kids but far misses the mark of the assignment. This time, he stood out because his projects were creative and inspiring. I mean, he really LOVED this class! I am almost sad it is a week long (but not sad, since I don’t have to pay more money) because he is getting so much enjoyment out of it. He raves about the class. He comes home smiling and happy. It is GREAT fine motor therapy for him! They paint, they sculpt, they draw and they build. I don’t regret this for a second. They have a little art show on Friday and I cannot wait to see his finished projects. This is the best thing we possibly could have done for him this summer.
And best yet? He has come home the past two days, picked up HIS WRITING JOURNAL and WRITES IN IT. As in, creative writing. As in, the bane of his existence. Now, if only we could find a way to get him off of cloud nine and take his medication in under forty five minutes…