|Singing + holding hands = Third Circle of Hell |
for Little Dude.
Nevertheless, Little Dude went into his morning assembly with a big smile on his face today. Also with noise-cancelling headphones on his head, but whatever. A big smile.
The school starts its day with all the Kindergartners lined up by class in the gym. They sing songs and say the Pledge of Allegiance. It's organized, it's fun, it's adorable. But for Little Dude, being around a group of singing children is a terrifying exercise in sensory processing stress. In preschool, even with just one class singing, he was known to curl up in the fetal position in the farthest corner possible. He's not a wanderer or a runner, but he did try to bolt once to get away from the singing.
|Excellent hiding spot.|
But that afternoon, he was a mess. Almost as soon as I picked him up from school, he started crying, explaining that he thought he'd made a terrible mistake in agreeing to go into the gym, because now he'd have to do it every day. His behavior at home was horrendous.
We plowed ahead. His behavioral therapist assured me that this was part of the process of building up his tolerance, and that he'd get through it. I trust her.
The second day, he really didn't want to go in again. "There are too many people," he said. "It's just too loud."
I promised him that he could bring his noise-cancelling headphones the next day, but told him I needed him to go in anyway that day. He agreed.
Again, terrible behavior at home.
Today, we brought the headphones. I walked him down to the gym, where we waited for his special ed teacher. He insisted on putting the headphones while we waited. As soon as they were on, a big smile spread across his face.
There are more steps, still. Next week I will only walk him to the door of the school. At some point, he'll try sitting in line with his class instead of standing in the back of the gym with his special ed teacher.
Whatever. Those steps start next week. Today I am savoring getting to this point. I am thrilled with his progress, thrilled with his teachers, thrilled with his school. I trust that his teachers are pushing him to grow, but not so hard that he falls back. I trust them when they tell me that he'll get there, that this is all part of the process. I also trust that I know my child well enough to have insisted on this transition process.
By the way, you know what I love about Kindergartners? They don't even notice when a classmate has on giant old-school headphones. I think maybe one little girl turned to look, and then went right back to her singing.
And this morning, one of my 10-year-olds told me that before their (scheduled and announced) fire drill this week, her teacher reminded the class that they might see other students with headphones on. She pointed out that no one should laugh at a student with headphones on, or make them feel uncomfortable; some people just have more sensitive ears than others. Awesome.
I can't recommend noise-cancelling headphones enough. They look like this:
|Adequate. But not fun.|
Which obviously makes me want to alter them to look like this:
|Pretty sure no one's going to mess with the kid wearing Darth Maul protective headphones.|
But that might be too scary for the other Kindergartners. Maybe something more cuddly, like this:
|Snuggly Chewbacca headphones could double as earmuffs.|
Of course, for a girl you'd want to make them look like this:
|La la la, I can't hear you.|