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Summer Friends...and Obsessions

Posted Aug 14 2009 1:36pm
I know there's still 2 weeks to go so I'm afraid to speak too soonbutwe are really having a great summer. No problems with Snuggles at all. I don't say this lightly ... we've had some horrific school holidaysno more than somebelieve me! It's good to know though that over timeit DOES get easier.

As you can see from my previous summer post he was kept very busy for July! Sowhat to do in August? WellI signed him up for the NRG (gymnastics) Summer Camp for this week while we took it easy in the first week of August. This is the first summer camp he's done in his mainstream school. I'm glad I waited so long because it's been a huge success. He was attending NRG after-school classes all year so that helped too! Guess who came to visit them? Dave's Jungle!! Somore Tarantulas on his head! My friend B thinks I'm being cruel! Honestly B...he wasn't terrifiedhe was trying to see it on top of his head!! I swearno children were hurt in the taking of this photo!!! Besidesthere was nothing I could do as I was hiding under a chair (as far away as possible) at the time!! Being the goodcaring mother that I am!

I'm having a bit of a dilemma with all this screen-playing to be honest. On the one hand he LOVES it so much and is quite good at it. Computers is his fortedefinitely. How beneficial can all this game playing beI wondered?

He's better than a lot of his friends at most of the games. He's also just recently figured outby himselfhow to get the internet/WiFi connection on both his Wii and his Nintendo DS (always gets called by it's full title I notice!). Sohe can now play with people all over the world. That's communication covered theneven if it's just electronically! I guess you could also say he's polishing up on his problem solving techniques?!!

He does have some friends in to screen-play (usually just one at a time) so he has to share and take turns. He also has to remember to ask the friend if they want to play the same game. You seenot everyone wants to play computer all day (or play the same computer game we want to play).... so, we can take turns at playing each other's favourite gamesand still be friends. He does of course need gentle reminders of all this from time to time! So ,that's some Social Skills covered also!!

A lot of dexerity required when screen-playing so I reckoned he's doing some great work on hand-eye co-ordination and fine motor skills. Just in case anyone reading this thinks I'm codding myself ( and I was a little concerned about that too!!) I was backed up on this by a comment one of my wonderful fb buddies made the other day on her status. Her Occupational Therapist confirmed that for Dyspraxia children some Wii playing ( Boxing in particular) is great for hand-eye co-ordination and it helps them cross their mid line. And as WE all know Dyspraxia is part of our wonderful spectrum. So therefore it's officialscreen-playing is of huge O.T. benefit for the ASDPDDNOS or whatever-your-having- yourself kid!!

On the other hand it's very addictive AND we have to be careful what games he plays. For Nintendo/Wii/PS2 the games he buys must be appropriate to his age. I positively do not care if little-Johnny-down-the-road has a 12+ game Snuggles cannot have it! The reason for that is more about the skill-level required to play ( some games can be absolute melt-down-inducers!) than the level of violence involved. Ohand if Snuggles wants to buy a game he saves up his pocket money and buys it himself. I guess that's saving/money matters and responsibility covered too then!!

I have to be very careful with what he accesses on the computer too. We've found some scary sites that have been accessed due to him typing in his "bold"words..."boobswillies etc"!! Soa big chat was had and that's all stopped now. Instead we've made him a member of the very innocent Club Penguin and Runescape. Againhe gets to play with other members around the globe as well as his friends on the roadas they're also members. Howeverthese games also feed into his other obsession of collecting things! They can "collect" things in the game and with Club Penguin you can also buy club Penguin cards in Smyths! So as well as having a mind-numbing collection of Yu-Gi-Oh cards (among other things) he's starting yet another collection! Then again obsessions can be used as positive re-inforcers. He's been quite good the last 2 days becausewhen I'm finished thiswe're off to buy a Wii classic controller he needs. And while we're there he thinks we should also buy some Club Penguin cards!! He's worked hard for them though. He even walked to Mass today and was very well behaved.

I have a couple of other ideas in mind for computer play. I'm VERY bad at farmtown on fb. In fact my farm is a bit like my head ...... all over the place! SoI'm thinking I might move to farmville and hire a manager. Is it illegal to hire a 9 year old manager I wonder?!!

Alsoas he's to get a laptop for school ( if he doesn't get it we'll buy one) we could help him by doing something that would continue working on his mouse-control and also work on his English and spelling skills. His very own Blog perhaps?? He's interested.... and we have a name picked!! Watch this space!!

I have tried to limit this game playing and get him outside playing as much as possible. In an effort to encourage him to go outside and renew his friendships with the other kids on the road ( and to play some outdoor games) I borrowed the school's Giant Jenga that he loves so much! He played with it on the footpath and it did indeed attract some friends!

Howeverit was shortlived and the box of Jenga lies abandoned in the hallway now! But he did reacquaint himself with the other kids and some games of community baseball were played on the local green.

That went pretty well and he coped with missing the ball when battingthough he did get upset when an adult got him "out". He also got very upset when another adult ran into him "on purposemum".... and Snuggles gave him the middle finger!! Ooops. I wasn't there but if I was I would have taken him away immediately. It's Ok to get upset but absolutely NO bad language OR showing the middle finger. He hasn't played since...or hasn't been invited to play since! Think it's the former thoughas I'm blessed with lovely neighbours.

While I'm on the subject of Summer Friends I must tell you about the reunion I had recently with my childhood friend who now lives in Abu Dhabi! We reckon it's 10 years or so since we last met. I have only seen two of her four children and they've never met Snuggles! Sothey all trooped over to us one finefairly sunny day and we had a BBQin between the raindrops!! I swearwe never stopped talking from the moment they got off the Dart! Snuggles immediately hooked up with their 9 year old and they got on fantastically. They had a lot in common!

Everyone got on so well and we had a great evening. I think we're gonna be part of their itinery on their annual visit to Ireland! At least I hope so. Think we'll make it a sleepover though as they struggled to catch the last Dart!!

You knowthis reunion was another thing we can put down to fb. If it wasn't for fb it wouldn't have happened. Good to know that MY obsession is beneficial too .... as it led me to reunite with my Summer Friend!!

xx Jazzy

(P.S. I seem to be having problems with my links in my recent posts. Don't know why but this time I've steered clear from "Preview" and "Spellcheck" as they seem to mess things up. ThereforeI also apologise for any spelling errors!!)

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