Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Extraordinary Kid Series

I know half of you probably come to my blog and think why does she have the stupid music on?  My brother isn't afraid to tell me so.  I like it.  I've read how blogs shouldn't have music and all that jazz but again I like it.  Music is powerful.  It can make you want dance or it can make you want to cry.  We relate to music. 

Many of my memories are tied to a song.  Around here each summer we come up with a summer song.  One that we listen to when we are boating at the lake.  I also have certain songs I run to.  Whenever those songs come on I either feel like running or boating.  The other day Katy Perry's song Firework came on (I don't love everything she sings but this is an exception) and the lyrics are meaningful to me.

You don't have to feel like a waste of space
You're original, cannot be replaced

If you only knew what the future holds
After a hurricane comes a rainbow

Maybe you're reason why all the doors are closed
So you can open one that leads you to the perfect road

Like a lightning bolt, your heart will blow
And when it's time, you'll know

You just gotta ignite the light
And let it shine
Just own the night
Like the Fourth of July

Cause baby you're a firework
Come on show 'em what your worth
Make 'em go "Oh, oh, oh!"
As you shoot across the sky-y-y

This song reminds me of my extraordinary kid.

There is so much more to him then people see in a first glance or impression.  I wish people would look deeper so they could see the light that shines from him.  The song above reminded me of something I posted on my family blog.  This is from about two years ago....

"The other day Jayden was riding the tricycle above. He looked so normal and I had a moment. At school and even at church lately Jayden is limited. I think he is treated differently... but at home, at that moment, he was free. Free of opinions of what everyone thinks he is or not... He was riding that tricycle as fast as his little legs could carry him and loving it. I sat there thinking about what Jayden's life is going to be like. Will he defy everyone who will label him? Will people being mean to him make him stronger? Will people being mean to me make me stronger?  I'm pretty sure one day he will amaze us all!"

It's amazing how something I wrote two years ago can bring me back to that moment in a second.  This brings me to what I wanted to discuss today.  When I wrote the above paragraph I was having a hard time with the school and Jayden was...I want to put this nicely and don't want to hurt any feeling....being escorted out of his primary (church) classroom repeatedly.  It took me a few years to get this church thing down but I think I finally have it figured out.  (I realize I'm about to use a bunch of LDS lingo...if you're not LDS you can go HERE to learn more about what I am talking about.)

Jayden was being escorted out of his primary class mostly due to his inability to stay in his chair. It's always been an issue.  He likes to lay on the floor.  It makes him feel safe and "grounded".  I noticed this early on in many areas of his life.  One time we were at the park and a little girl started to scream.  Jayden went over to the asphalt and laid straight down on it.   The funny thing is I remember thinking he was just tired at the time but in reality he was completely overwhelmed by all the children and the screaming.  The problem of taking Jayden out of his primary class is if he had his choice he would never leave me.  In a way it was rewarding to him.  He got to come hang out with me.  After taking him out there was NO way he was going back.  These are my suggestions of working with leaders at church...

*A huge problem we have is Jayden looks "normal".  Yep there is that word that I didn't want to use.  I'm not sure what normal is but Jayden looks it.  This causes a problem because those who don't know Jayden sometimes confuse certain behaviors of coping as being naughty...such as being on the ground.  Educate leaders of these coping techniques.

*If you haven't talked to the primary president about your so and do it now.  Right now they are deciding the classes the kids will be in.  I typically talk to someone from the presidency each year.  We talk about Jayden's needs and usually I'm given a choice in teachers.  It's nice because certain personalities work better with extraordinary kids.

*Once you find out what class your child is in call the leader/teacher.  Let them know what is typical for your child.  In  my case Jayden will lay on the floor.  Being around that many children is often overwhelming for him.  It doesn't mean he isn't listening or he is trying to be naughty.  This past year Jayden has had amazing teachers.  He loves going to primary.  I also let them know I'm always available if they need me.  It's always better to bring me in the class then to remove him from it.

*The kids spend 2 hours in primary.  Peek in every once in a while and see what your kid is up to.  I do this at least once just to make sure things are going smoothly.  So far, so good!

Boom, boom, boom

Even brighter than the moon, moon, moon

It's always been inside of you, you, you

And now it's time to let it through

Do you have any suggestions?  I would love to hear them!!


  1. It can also be helpful to talk to the children in the class, if they don't know him. To know what to expect. This is a great time for the teacher to go over expectations of all the kids, even when some students have different expectations. I hope that made sense!

  2. Super fab Erika! I believe that has happened in Jayden's class. There are certain things he is allowed to do that they know they can't. That also reminded me that one of my friends suggested that in primary leadership training they get some training on kids with special needs. I have suggested it to my ward's primary presidency :)

  3. Oh my heart breaks for you. I can feel your pain in some degree. I have a sister who is mentally retarded and my oldest daughter has gone through a lot of surgeries in her short life time.
    I think that maybe explaining to the kids what is going on with him that would help. I have done this and it works out pretty good. Then they can ask lots of questions. Since these kids will be with him all the way through church. Stay strong always think on the other side. Good luck! Love your blog!

  4. Our ward is blessed to have multiple extraordinary kids. Some are primary aged and some are ym/yw aged. We had a training for all adults in our ward. At the time I was serving in the RS presidency and made a similar suggestion to Erika. I had had the wonderful opportunity to work as a teacher in a mom's preschool to one of these fabulous children. When preschool started I explained to the other children that this child saw the world differently than they did and that this child would be allowed to things they would not be allowed to do . These were 4 year olds. And they understood. Sometimes adults are not as understanding unfortunately. I am very grateful for those who are!!!
    I love that you have talked with your son's teachers. That is a huge help. I now work in the Primary as the chorister and I love working with these kids. They are amazing. You are very right. There are definitely those who are better with extraordinary kids than others.
    Thankyou for your insights. They really are helpful.

  5. When my husband and I first moved here almost 4 years ago, we were immediately put into primary (even with our newborn). Our first class was one with a very special extraordinary boy, severely Autistic, but who also LOVED laying on the floor. Because I had subbed several times in an elementary school for autistic kids, I kinda knew what to expect. He would yell out in class, poke at other kids, but they all explained to US that he was special and that's just what he did. I agree, talk to the kids in the class, so they don't stare or point or cry to their parents after church. Yer doing awesome! I say, if he wants to lay on the floor, let him! I know in my class, when Matthew would lay on the floor, I'd have the kids push their chairs back and we ALL sat on the floor to include him!!

  6. What a unique little boy!! He does sound EXTRAORDINARY to me!! :) It is so interesting that kids find something that soothes them when they are stressed.. my son actually bites his lip.. he has little scars from it.. and we have to put antibiotic ointment on it almost every night. I know its been a rough day when he comes with a sore lip!! Keep it up girl.. you are an EXTRAORDINARY mom!!

  7. I love your blog, and tell your brother the music must stay!!! Sometimes my kids and I turn on your blog on the computer just so we can crank up your play list and rock out while we're cleaning. It's awesome! And what a fab mom you are. I'm the music leader in primary and I have a couple extradorniory kids in my ward. Your suggestions are super helpful. Thankfully our ward family is very supportive and accomidating of the needs of kids like Jayden. I've heard stories of people having less than positive experiences and it breaks my heart. It makes me want to try harder to be a better teacher for "the one." Merry Christmas friend.

  8. I started checking your blog for your 2 x 4 projects and enjoyed reading this entry about your little boy. I am a first counselor in a primary in California and I wish that every parent had this much insight into the needs of their children. We have often had times where we question, "is that child just out of control and naughty or is there something else going on there?" I work with a President who is more than willing to talk to the parents when we have this question and try and work out what works best for kids who need to deal with things a little differently. Thanks for the reminder, I think we all need it sometimes!

  9. I found your blog through CRAFT and have really enjoyed looking through your blog. I love this post and am always thankful when these extraordinary children also have extraordinary parents who are their biggest supporters and advocates. You have some great ideas and I am sure it has helped to make his experiences much better! Have you ever tried pressure garments with Jayden? (SPIO is one brand but there are lots out there) They often help with kids who are seeking out other sensory input (like lying on the floor!). I work with special needs children and am also involved personally with my son. I can definitely relate to your struggles. Keep up the good work!


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