Monday, September 12, 2011

Michael's Staycation

While Michael's Mom and Dad enjoyed a much needed vacation in Seattle, Michael had a "staycation" with Grandma and Grandpa.
First we planned a visit to the beach.  Michael likes the water and the beach but as it turned out, we hadn't picked the best day.  In spite of the heat at his home, the weather at Zuma Beach was cool and breezy.  Not only that but the unusually dangerous surf made it impossible to go near the water.
I had learned that many state and local beaches have sand wheelchairs to borrow so we tried it out.  They work better if you pull rather than push them across the sand.  It is nice to know they are available.




The Los Angeles area has many adaptive playgrounds, built with help from Shane's Inspiration.
These playgrounds are for all children but have features making them accessible to children with disabilities.  There are several not far from Michael's home and we took him to one to play.




Grandpa snapped a picture as he waited below the slide for Michael.










He likes the swing.  The adaptive swings are popular with all children and much safer than the traditional swings.
I have noticed that many parks no longer have swings and that is too bad.  The motion helps to develop the inner ear and balance.  It was a regular part of Michael's therapy sessions.















He wasn't sure what to make of the mister.  It was cooling on a hot day but it was a new experience.  Some times it takes a little while for him to process something new.




















Since it was still hot, on Sunday we looked for something inside with air conditioning.  We went to the mall.
Malls sure have changed!  Part shopping, part dining and part theme park.
A very nice attendant helped me to lift Michael onto the carrousel.  Just as with the swing, he enjoyed the motion.  Grandma made sure he didn't fall.










Not ready to go home we decided to find a place to sit and "people watch".  Grandpa and I were reminded of what a wonderful country this is.  People of many different cultures were enjoying the mall.  We are not perfect but compared to many other parts of the world where people can be attacked because of how they dress or how they look, we do pretty good.
We have come a long way when it comes to the disabled.  Thanks to the Americans with Disabilities act, we can take Michael out for the day without the roadblocks of an earlier time.  Sometimes people wonder, will ask about him but no one suggests that he should not be out enjoying life.










Like all good things, Michael's staycation came to an end.  Summer was over and it was time for him to go back to school.  His parents tell me that Michael's current school is to be closed just as the last one was.  Los Angeles schools are phasing out special need schools.  While mainstreaming may be good for some students I am not sure that it is the right choice for a child as vulnerable as Michael.





See more of our wonderful world at Our World, Tuesday hosted by Arija,  Gattina, Lady Fi, Sylvia and Sandy.

31 comments:

Sylvia K said...

It does look as though all of you had a great Staycation together! I think it's terrific there are playgrounds with these features for children with disabilities. Many years ago, I worked for one of the first organizations whose sole purpose was to help make the world accessible to the disabled. It's hard to realize that back then, there were relatively few places that a disabled person could go -- certainly not alone and certainly no children. It was an incredible, fulfilling job experience for me. Hope you have a wonderful week, Martha!

Sylvia

Diane AZ said...

How great to see Michael out enjoying the beach, park and mall with his grandma and grandpa. Wonderful pictures!

Gaelyn said...

This looks like a great staycation for everybody.

So sad to hear of Michael's school scheduled for closing.

katney said...

Well, from the look on Michael's face he was certainly enjoying the visit. Glad you enjoyed it as well.

aka Penelope said...

Oh, I like Michael’s cool glasses! You’ve introduced me to a couple of great inventions, Martha, such as the sand wheelchairs and adaptable swings. It is wonderful that society is trying to create a more inclusive experience for a wider range of people. Looks like your grandson had a marvelous time with Grandma and Grandpa. :)

Carver said...

Looks like a wonderful time. I enjoyed the shots very much.

Gary said...

Wonderful post!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Jackie said...

An enjoyable staycation (never heard that term before) for you all, and Michael looks like he was really having a good time. I hope he gets a good school to go to, it is very important. Lovely photo's.

EG Wow said...

Looks to me that you and Grandpa know how to show Michael a good time!

I hope Michael has a great school year. Special needs children have been phased into regular classrooms here in Ontario. I can see good and bad points to doing this, the major good points being (I think) an early and deep-felt tolerance for people who are different and an understanding that in many ways we are all similar inside.

Kay L. Davies said...

Looks like Grandma and Grandpa had a good time, too, Martha.
It's wonderful to know so many places are adapted to include people with disabilities, but I have mixed feelings about Michael's school closing. I agree with my fellow Canadian in Ontario: it's good for the other students to learn about and from disabled classmates, but is it good for Michael? That, for Michael's family, has to be the bottom line, doesn't it? Very difficult situation.
Decisions about making changes like these ideally should include the parents of students with disabilities and, where possible, the students themselves.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Ebie said...

I love to see Michael with all smiles, but I think he is a little bit shy.

Yes, the surf was crazy last week, and those wheels are so huge!

Hugs!

eileeninmd said...

Looks like Michael had a great time with Grandma and Grandpa. The mister and the swing are lots of fun. I hope you all had a great time. Wonderful photos.

Pieces of Sunshine said...

You are wonderful grandparents and Michael is a special child. You can feel and see your love for him and his joy in your presence.

Paulie said...

Looks like he had a wonderful day with you both! I am sure his parents appreciated the break. I wish Michael a wonderful school year and more vacations with you both when possible.

Yogi♪♪♪ said...

Michael is so blessed to have such great parents and grandparents and he is such a blessing to you.

I think it is wonderful that the sand chairs are available. They look awesome. I really liked the adaptive playgrounds when our son was younger. He really enjoyed the swings and still does, they calm and stabilize him.

Sorry to hear about Michael's school closing. You know there is a balance between inclusion and separate and it is different for each child. We're fortunate to be able to send our son to a private school that does a great job with him, but not everybody can do that.

Thanks for sharing Michael's Staycation with us. You are awesome!

missing moments said...

Martha, thanks for dropping by. It looks like you had a wonderful time with your grandson. He is lucky to have you both to love him. And his parents are lucky to have you close to help care for him!

Indrani said...

Yes, Michael seems to have enjoyed and that is utterly satisfying.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a joy-filled post Martha! It is so good for everybody that you and "Grandpa could be there for MIchael's stay-cation. A win-win for mom, dad, Michael and the two of you.

You are right about the good parts of our country and I do need to keep that in mind.

But I guess the only non-joyful thing is the upcoming closing of Michael's school, esp.if he is happy where he is. Will he have a one-on-one aide if he goes to regular public school?

Lynnie said...

Michael looks like a very sweet young man. He is very blessed to have grands like you all who show tender care and love to him. I know he is a blessing to each of you as well! I will be praying for a special solution for his schooling, sorry to hear of those changes.

Laura said...

My all blessings with michael...he is lucky to hav u

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Arija said...

What a wonderful time you all had together. Swings and merry-go-rounds are really great and most children respond very well to then. I love your photo of your 'knight in shining armour' on his white steed. I am so glad you had Michael to yourselves for a while and that you can still manage He has grown since I last saw him and he is walking so well. Thank you so much for posting about Michael, I very often think of him and wonder how he is getting on.

Gemma Wiseman said...

What a wonderful, inspiring post! It is filled with happiness and the joy of life! I have never seen those beach wheelchairs here in Australia! What a brilliant idea!

Stewart M said...

Hi there - looks like a good time was had by one and all!

Cheers - Stewart M - Australia

Janie said...

Michael has a wonderful smile. I'm glad the sand wheelchair and easy to use playground equipment were available for him. Looks like everyone had fun on the staycation.

SandyCarlson said...

What a loving family.

Barb said...

Martha, I loved seeing the photos of Michael with you and Jules. He sure has a great smile! I like the bunny he's riding, too. Looks like you all had a great visit. Are you resting this week?

clairz said...

Martha, thank you for sharing this with us. That sand wheelchair is wonderful, and I am so glad they are provided. You are right about many barriers being down due to ADA, but on our recent vacation east we traveled for a day in Boston with a friend in a wheelchair and found that there are still a lot of barriers existing. I'll be writing about that on my blog when I get to that part of the trip.

It was nice to catch some glimpses of you in this photo essay!

Linnea said...

I think Michael enjoyed his time with you both. Aren't we lucky, too, to live in a nice climate that allows us to go out and enjoy the environment without having to put up with excessive weather elements! I hope that Michael adapts well to his new classroom situation.

Linda Reeder said...

I enjoyed this post very much. I know how much love and hard work goes into caring for Michael, and you must feel very rewarded when you get those big smiles.
The whole special school/program vs mainstreaming controversy is so frustrating. I often thing mainstreaming is preferred because it costs less. Not an ideal reason for making a choice for vulnerable kids. But when money is in short supply, everybody gets hurt.

Jack son said...

Really every children get pleasure in the playground place for playground equipment.

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