I don’t listen to special needs podcasts.
It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, or learn from them, or feel a connection with them. I do. I have a few of my favorites saved in my library for quick access when I need extra help. But mostly, I enjoy the running podcast of my own life.
Like when Wil goes to Challenger baseball, I look forward to it just as much as he does. It’s as much of a supportive environment for him as it is for me.
There is both structure and freedom in the Challenger games: 3 innings, player placement in the outfield, a batting line-up, and everyone makes it to home plate. But beyond that, and sometimes within that, anything goes. It’s really the perfect parallel to raising a child with disabilities. The parents, coaches and players get it, because they live it. Every day.
Tim stepped up to bat, and Coach H. announced it was Tim’s birthday. Everyone cheered. Coach H. joked that his son, who has autism and scripts (repeats sayings), only told him 55 times that morning. After Tim hit the ball, Tim’s mom quietly told Coach H. that she’s not sure where his son heard it was Tim’s birthday; it’s really in January. But who couldn’t use an extra cheer?
Sandi was next up to bat. She hit the ball and ran to 1st base. But she didn’t stop there. Sandi ran on to join her friend on 2nd base to give him a hug. There Sandi stayed; two players on 2nd base and no one on 1st base.
James enjoys music; the same music, over and over. James’ dad’s cell phone is on a near constant repeat of animated show tunes in his pocket. But James’ dad instilled a rule: music while in the outfield, but no music while waiting to bat.
“I swear I can’t listen to that song one more time!” James’ dad said to me. James, in turn, scripted about the music the entire time he waited to bat. So, by the time James and his dad went back to the outfield, his dad was just as relieved as his son was to play music again!
I jokingly said to James’ dad, “No music on the pitching mound.” He replied, “Oh, there is going to be music on the pitching mound!”
Just before Challenger baseball, Wil, with his strong left-handed throw, tossed Elizabeth’s book into his pool. He wasn’t mad it her. Nothing precipitated his actions. He saw her book sitting on the back-porch table, and his pool was in perfect throwing distance.
He lost his iPad privileges, which means no Luke Bryan. So, he grabbed his Luke Bryan CDs, which I also said no to.
“DVD’s mom?” Wil asked.
“No,” I replied.
At the Challenger baseball game, I shared this incident with my friend, Eleanor. Her son also has Down syndrome and is Wil’s age. I knew she would understand, and sure enough, she laughed and said her son had committed similar acts with his sister’s possessions for no apparent reason. We shared other stories and how our sons always tell the truth, or remain silent, about such incidents. We’ve never heard either tell a lie. Then we watched her son crack an impressive grounder and take on the bases.
Entertainment, sports, connection, support, humor and education; no streaming required, all on a Sunday afternoon.