As I mentioned on Monday, I will be talking about the importance of “traditions” for the month of December. When I asked participants in my FITBuddies group to define the word tradition, they said “it’s your favorite things,” “something you repeat,” “the same thing done over and over.” So for this month, I will mostly be talking about a few of our favorite things that we repeat over and over and why it is important to establish these “traditions” (as defined by FITBuddies). As a professional working with this population, it is important to understand the importance of providing routine, schedules, and so on and also always being ready to expect the unexpected…
Monday was the perfect example of 5 different routines that were mixed up and flipped around and some resulted in high fives and laughs and others in tears.
The scene: the gym was packed and there was no room for us in our usual corner which left everyone confused: Kristen was running in and out of the bathroom with her headphones on doing her “own workout.”; Spencer did pull ups for the first time all by himself on the assisted pull up machine; Mahayla was recovering from an ear ache; Xenia thought everything “was just too hard”…even though it was the same exercises we usually do, it did not feel the same to her on the other side of the gym; Jeremy was not stopping for anyone and had “no time for the younger kids.”
The result: The last 15 minutes resulted in a variety of breakdowns: Mahayla kept getting distracted and repeating “where does it hurt,” couldn’t stay focused and ending up leaving early; Kristen all of sudden broke down sobbing (and I mean sobbing) and was attached to my side; Spencer was repeating over and over how he did his first pull ups (oblivious to the fact the Kristen is crying in my arms); Xenia then starts crying in the corner and Jeremy is still moving a mile a minute, not stopping for any of the chaos of the other “kids.”
When something hurts on Mahayla, it is all she can focus on. It turns out that Kristen was crying about her dog that died 4 years ago. Xenia was upset because starting in January she will no longer be able to come to FITBuddies on Mondays. Spencer will be talking about his pull ups for months to come as he always does when we introduce “something new.” Jeremy will continue to and continue hoping that someday everyone will be “a mature man like himself.”
When something is different or a change is made in the life of an individual with intellectually disabilities, expect to hear about it unexpectedly for days, weeks, months and years to come.