Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

Navigate Life Texas: Resources for kids with disabilities and special needs

The Joys and Frustrations of Winter Break

11/21/2017 | Published by: Family to Family Network

Winter break is a mixed bag for my son, Ryan. Does he enjoy going to bed later and sleeping in? Absolutely! Does he enjoy hanging out with friends, playing sports, and participating in group activities? Not so much. So, our challenge is this:  how does my son fill his time during the day when he’s not working at his part-time job?

Ryan works for a school, so when school is closed he has over 4 hours of time to fill every day. Most young adults spend their free time going places with friends, exploring shared interests, or playing sports. But it’s a different story when your young adult son doesn’t have friends, doesn’t participate in sports, and his hobbies are watching television, surfing the internet, or playing one-player video games.

It’s very hard for me to watch Ryan spending so much time alone, and I think it’s hard for him too. Most mornings he greets me with, “So, what are we doing today?” I am his social director. Fortunately, there are movies to see, places to eat, or errands to run.

Ryan has one friend who sometimes joins us for a movie, but movies are the only interest they have in common. Ryan used to like bowling but has lost interest and it’s not worth it to me to force him into something he doesn’t enjoy.

What’s a parent to do? I try to break up the day as much as possible. I will work for a few hours and then take him out to eat or run errands with me. Does that get expensive? Of course. Are the errands exciting? Not at all. But at least it gets him out in the community and that’s truly important. Even the simplest outings give him something to look forward to and a chance to interact with people. When we get home, I finish my work and we watch movies or television shows together. It’s a chance to engage in conversation and at least he’s interacting with me.

Like many parents, I do the best I can. It wasn’t easy when our winter break ended and the alarm went off at 6:25 a.m., but I was truly happy Ryan was back in his routine. I awoke with a renewed appreciation of how important it is for Ryan to have a job. It provides a chance to learn new skills, be with others, and grow as a young adult!

Are you looking for things to do during your child’s next school break? You can find recreational events in your area on Navigate Life Texas. Or check out the Recreation & Travel resources on Texas Project FIRST.org 

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