Joshua goes swimming at school three times a week, the first session happens on a Monday morning. It is good exercise for him and it wears him out, so much so that he fell asleep while his TA was giving him physiotherapy in the afternoon. He arrived home asleep in the taxi but woke up to see me and to walk into the house. He had a little dance then enjoyed a hearty tea of sausage and mash followed by chocolate sponge pudding with cream – which might be enough to send anyone to sleep?! Then he planned on curling up in the armchair for a nap.
But then I insisted that he got changed into his jogging bottoms and fleece, and we set off for the half hour drive to the stables as it was the first session of Riding for the Disabled since the summer break. He fell into a deep sleep during the car journey , so much so that he struggled to get out of the car at the other end. He did ride Digby for his 30 minute session but did not crack a smile once. He stayed awake but maintained a serious expression the entire ride, even when he was deliberately throwing bean bags the opposite direction than the net where they were intended or when we, his parents, were shouting greetings and waving at him.
My view is that it is only for half an hour every fortnight and he will have just two more rides before it finishes for winter, so I take him along, even though the easy option would be to let him sleep and stay at home. I take him because it is good for him, the volunteers were waiting for him and there is a chance that he might rest in the car but be lively when he sees the horses and love it, as he has done in the past.
But it makes me reflect on how little choice Joshua has in his life : he is taken really where I want to go, and does not enjoy the freedom of choice that ‘normal’ teenagers can exercise. No 14-year-old is able to opt out of school, but they do have more say over their evening and weekend activities than Joshua does. He cannot jump on his bike on a Saturday afternoon and visit a friend or explain to me just how tired he is and why he would prefer to sleep, rather than go to RDA. He did not even choose what he wanted for his evening meal last night, his only choice was to eat or leave his bangers & mash, but thankfully he approved of my selection on his behalf.
I must try to offer him more choices in his life, more either/or situations……