I’m struggling with who to tell what and when.  We – I mean, G, (still using the royal we, aren’t I) doesn’t have an official label yet.  I’ve got him signed up for a couple summer activities.  One is a kids music class and the other is swim lessons.  I got G involved in the music program as a baby when it was a mommy and me type of activity.  As an older infant and toddler, he really got into it and would bop along in the center of the circle, while the rest of the class conformed on the edges of the circle, to the beat of his own drummer.  Then one day he suddenly hated it.  Every time we would switch from one activity to another, G would melt down.  Or he would decide not to participate at all and would instead scale the bookshelf or count the stacked chairs in the corner.  To the dismay of the teacher, who adores G, I stopped signing us up for this class.

Two years later, I’ve signed him up for the music class again.  He still has a fierce interest in music, he’s better able to handle some of those old triggers and his best friend will be attending with him.  But at this age level, the parents drop kids off instead of attending with their child.  So before registering I had a conversation with the teacher, explaining G’s probable diagnosis, his triggers and his reaction to those triggers.  She’s ok’d the idea of me staying with him as long as he needs to get comfortable with the environment.  She’s very relaxed about the idea of G attending class again and couldn’t be more welcoming.

With the swim class, I haven’t told anyone about G and his potential diagnosis.  He’s a great swimmer for his age, as this is another activity we’ve been doing since birth.  He generally presents as a typical child who is strong willed and wants things to conform to his own agenda.  I didn’t want to run the risk of the parks and rec dept telling us G wouldn’t be able to participate because these classes aren’t set up to handle special needs.  Even though he was in the adaptive program for skiing, I am opposed to singling him out for swimming.

I really can’t explain the difference between music and skiing.  I have a gut objection to labeling him or singling him out for swimming.  Yet I’m nervous about taking him today and am anticipating all the things that might go wrong.  I am having trouble figuring out when I should disclose his special needs and when it is not necessary.  When is it informative and when is it stigmatizing?

Published in: on June 5, 2008 at 2:43 pm  Comments (2)  

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  1. That’s a tough call. With Captain Oblivious, who’s very clearly got issues conforming to expected class behavior, I mostly always disclose. That way, he tends to get a little leniency. (Although, with the Boy Scouts, of all things, that meant they never called me again. Just as well–if they’re not tolerant, then he wouldn’t have been a good fit.) Maybe you can just hint to the swimming teacher that sometimes he has a hard time with new things, and make sure they have your number, to call if they have any questions or concerns. Hope it goes well!

  2. Oh, this is a tough one. My Little Man doesn’t do well in the water with other kids around, as he HATES getting water on his face. We’ve finally just resolved ourselves to the fact that he will probably only ever have private swimming lessons. He actually starts a new set of lessons tomorrow and I’m still debating whether to tell the instructor about his SPD and fear of water on his face, or to just see how it goes…. So tough!

    I have to say, I’m so glad I’ve found your blog. Sounds like our boys have a LOT in common!

    Kia (http://goodmum.wordpress.com/)

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