A friend on my Down syndrome Yahoo group is concerned because she feels her son is very limited when he gets home from school, not wanting to participate in normal activities. Christina is similar in that she has a set routine when she gets home from school, and rarely deviates from it.
She doesn't want to read a story, play with her sisters, or go for a walk. She only wants to play alone with her Elmo doll, or watch her favorite movies on TV. Period. The only exception to this routine is if I can get her to stay in the yard after she gets off the bus. She enjoys nature and throws the ball for our dog. It helps her unwind.
I don't let it bother me like it once did. She has a lot of 'have to's' at school, and home is her down time. I give her time to veg out doing a mindless activity after school, and usually, by dinner she is more herself. I save shower/bath time for just before bed, and then she'll usually let me read her a book (same one every time). I think she's just humoring me. She gets lots of stories in school.
In that way, she is similar to my husband who wants to veg out after a day at work!
I think there is a comfort to routine after what can be a very taxing school day.
Last night we had a friend come over for dinner with her big family. Christina had a marvelous time playing dress up in the basement, but had a big meltdown when they left at 8:00. It took over an hour to get her upstairs and ready for bed. She probably enjoyed the break from her routine, but it still ruffled her feathers.
I have to accept her needs after school and not deviate from them more than necessary.