We have been back from the Yachad Weekend since Sunday but it took me some time to recover. While it is really meant to be a bit of a retreat and relaxing weekend, for a family with little children, it is just not the case.
They have a great day camp, which the kids enjoyed very much, but there was a lot of unstructured down time with the boys running loose all over a big hotel .
We spoke to the people involved about finding ways to make it easier for families with very young children. We will see if they change anything for next year, although I think it might just make sense for us to wait a few years till the kids are older.
In terms of sessions, there were a lot of interesting things, among them:
- A session on sexuality and talking to our kids about their bodies- self-care, privacy, exploitation prevention, relationships.
-A session on changing kid's behaviors which started with the premise that you can really change behavior :) His approach to behavior modification was very interesting and he asked us to reevaluate what behaviors really need changing and if some behaviors are annoying but maybe are not as problematic as we think. He also spoke a lot about changing the environment. We do that already for Y with all the safety issues but there is only so much safeguarding you can do. You cannot think of every last thing
-A session on religion and spirituality. The speaker was making the argument that when we offer people with cpecial needs the opportunity to participate in the community in this way, we are not doing a chessed but we are actually adding value to our schools and shuls. It was a refreshing way to look at things.
I could go on and on about the things I learned. I always come away with a new perspective after these weekends. Which is why we keep coming back even if it is a bit tiring.
The other nice thing is meeting other families and connecting with them. We met a family whose oldest son has Down syndrome and had kids all the same ages as our kids, as well as some other nice families. I would like to try and keep in touch.
We transitioned straight from the weekend to my husband being away at a conference for the next three days. I really dislike being alone, but so far I am hanging in there. Visitors and phone calls welcome!