Valentine’s Day: predictable and same for all

sommecard

There are so many posts coming up on my feed this week about Valentine’s Day. Some happy, some utterly depressing, some over the top in love. And quite a few wonderful reflections on love and the meaning it gives to life. So here is one more, but this one is from the viewpoint of a residential school filled with students who require a scheduled, predictable day with managed expectations and follows the mantra “No Hope, No Disappointment.” Harsh? Maybe it sounds like it, but in our world, its the way to make life tolerable and less stressful (and not for staff, but for the students).

Our school is one of the unique ones that provides for the needs of students with complex special needs, including many who have a genetic predisposition to life threatening obesity, coupled with intellectual disabilities and some of the most challenging behaviors I’ve seen in my work in Special Ed and Behavioral Health.

One thing they do best is perserverate. Especially over food and holidays. So it is a vital component of our programming that we manage expectations to help them get through the day. While the general population might wait in wonder of what their significant others or family will surprise them with, Valentine’s Day here is laid out to the minute. Students know exactly what time they will be given their treasured goody bag, and are reassured that theirs is the exact same as everyone else’s. No hope, no disappointment. And they are happy as clams.

Valentine’s Day is the easy day. Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas. …. That’s a whole other story!

As for me, I had a great Valentine’s Day with a romantic dinner to IHOP. 🙂 May not be fancy, but it was the perfect evening out. And boy, was the french toast good!

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