My son has been experiencing massive anxiety in regards to going to school but only the going to part. In the mornings his school policy is that the lower grades k-1-2 go into the auditorium and the teachers bring the classes up. Now I know why he doesn't like it because of his sensory issues and the overwhelming noise level but it's only for about 5 minutes as I send him in at the last minute but he still cries every morning. I've started taking him on a walk around the block before going in, deep breathing several times to help with anxiety, he has a stress ball in his pocket to squeeze when he's feeling stressed. I don't know what else to try. I don't want him to have all these special accomodations I want him to adjust to the world and be able to work with it. The guidance counselor suggested I ask the principal to have one of the teachers escort him up to his class every morning.
After all that long winded writing I do have a question would you bypass the morning auditorium or have him try to deal with it. It's his only stress of the day otherwise he's handling the rest of the day well.
It is hard to know what to do when it comes to those kinds of issues with kids but I think since he can't seem to adjust to that particular part of the school day I think I would skip it for now. He may need to get a little older or maybe further on in the school year when he is more comfortable. I wouldn't give up trying but certainly he shouldn't feel so stressed first thing in the morning. Good luck.
It sounds crazy to me - most schools that I know of don't have that set up - Skip it!! - I can't think that it is a particularly useful thing for your little one to 'learn' to overcome. What is more important is that he doesn't get switched off school...
I would skip the auditorium situation, and get a teacher to take him directly to class. When we get that "anxiety", and it appears to wear off, it really doesn't, it keeps us anxious for several more hours, we just hide it better. If he's crying, he's overloaded. Being overloaded and having a meltdown (especially a public meltdown) makes us weak and trembly inside, and unable (or less able, or less tolerant) to deal with things that come up for the next few hours, until all that anxiety dissipates. And if he's having to deal with this every morning, this really isn't good for him. I suspect that he will get somewhat better at dealing with the crowd, noise, movement, visual stimulation in time. He may even ask to start going to the auditorium.
Yes, you want him to be "normal". He isn't (at least by your standards). He eventually may be able to "pass for normal" given a supportive environment and taught to use the correct "social tools". He has needs that "normal" children don't have. If your "normal" child was hungry, would you feed him? So, if your child with sensory issues has "sensory issues", would you deny him what he needs, simply because it "isn't normal"? Would you push your "normal" child, every day, into a situation that made him cry, because it was "good for him"?
Some of us have the ability to "adjust to the normal world". Some of us don't. Regardless, it takes time. It takes allowing us to "try it out" when we feel strong enough to "take it", and not forcing us to endure it when we are feeling weak. There are days I can call a friend and go out to lunch. There are days I can't. Unfortunately, a child doesn't get to call the shots, they just have to cope with what life hands to them. Parents can help keep the stress level to a tolerable level, though the stress level an Asperger's child feels will almost always greatly exceed the stress level of "normal" children.
You may want to try taking advantage of all the accommodations that are available to (and needed by) your child, with the goal of weaning him off them gradually. It will help immensely with his ability to focus on his education.
Is your son verbal and if so, can he tell you what he doesn't like about the morning situation?
Also, does he tolerate the environment typical of the auditorium at other times and in other situations?
I find with the children that I work with that the reasons we initially propose to be the problems are often not. Anything that you can think of that may have happened in the auditorium? Has it been this way from day one?
Roseforlace I didn't nor did I ever refer to my child as not normal. If I were to rule the world and able to make it a quieter place for my son I would however very few people aside from myself care that my son has sensory issues and won't when he's older so yes I do believe he needs to be able to adapt. DO I force him to to the point of meltdowns no I do not do I accept every accomodation as far as therapies and programs that help you betcha I do however as a parent of an exceptionally bright child it's a fine line between help and overprotective as I won't live forever to bulldoze through all the ******** he'll have be able to stand up for himself. He's fully capable of expressing what it is that bothers him and when unfortunately he gets bullied so if I can teach him to keep it together so the other kids don't call him crybaby and be a confident young man so the rest of the world gets to see how funny and smart and handsome and the bravest damn kid on the planet you bet I will and if my ways seem to offend you being a person with aspergers I apologize however I 'm insulted that you may think I haven't always since day one put him and his needs above and beyond all else.
Laimsmom, I did not mean to offend you, nor insult your efforts. My heart goes out to a young child who cries every morning because of the situation he is placed in. It brings back old memories of my own, when I cried every day after school. I was able to hold it in until I wasn't around the kids, but then it came out. No one knew why it was happening, and my parents had bigger problems to tend to. For you to be asking for advice, tells me you want to do right by your son. I wish you the best of luck.
my son's previous school has something similar but it is the gym where everyone gathers. parents were to walk their children to the gym and leave. we were not allowed to stay. although my son did not have sensory issues due to the noise, i was not comfortable with just dropping him off in a big gym only to have 5th and 6th grade children monitor them before the teachers came to get the class. i made it very clear that i was staying and explained my reasons. the school was pretty accomodating since they were aware he is a special needs child. perhaps by having you there, your son's anxiety level may not be so high.
my son did however have senstivity to the automatic toilet bowl flushers in his current school. he would come barreling home right into the bathroom. he would hold it all day just to avoid the "loud flushing sounds". we talked and talked about it and i explained to him that the more he gets used to it the less it will bother him. it took a couple of weeks but he got over it.
i feel the same way as you as far as helping him adapt to this world. people are not going to make accomodations for our kids (especially as they get older). i, too, worry about bullying as my son is quick to cry. we are working on coping methods other than crying. it's easier to cry for my son rather than putting it into words. ofcourse, there are times when crying is completely ok but not for every little thing. when i see an episode arising i nip it right away and tell him to gather his thoughts and explain to me because i don't understand "cry talk".
I would say to skip the auditorium also. My son had issues with taking the bus to and from school (High functioning Asp.) Me and another mom, whos son also had same problems took turns driving and picking up during 3-6th grade. The noise level on buses were just too much . It started day off bad and ended day bad. It made all the difference in the world not riding the bus. When he entered 7th grade he was able to tolerate it, he is now in 12th, where did the time go. He is a smart and articulate young man. He even went on a trip to Spain for 14 days with teachers and other students that completed 2 years of Spanish. His understanding his differences/strenghts made all the difference. I have given him books to read (about aspergers) to help better understand himself. He has a good sense of humor so he does joke about himself sometimes. There are some funny mis-understandings because of him taking things too literal. He has been better about the literal stuff in the last few years. His maturity has helped him overcome alot of things.
Thanks for all the replies and advice. The trouble with my son is it's inconsistent as far as when it bothers him one week will be horrid while for example this week he's perfectly fine walks in without any problems so it's hard to tell if it's his sensory issues or just plan anxiety as he complains alot about his stomach hurting (been to the Dr about it already). I've talked with his teachers who were suprised to hear he was having this problem because they say he's fine when they arrive to pick up the class and remains fine through out the day. He's coming along great socially he has a friend or two that he wants to makes plans with outside of school, he's the top reader in the class and all other subjects are on track or above level, he's popular with all the teachers, staff and therapists. So as far as the school goes I'm happy about his treatment there and he only spends approx 5 min in the auditorium. I was considering a para but it seems like an awful lot of trouble for someone to be with him for 5-10 min a day.The strange thing is that he does fine in the lunchroom which he's in for 30 min and I'm sure just as if not louder that the auditiorium in the A.M. He's very frightened of being lost/left behind I don't know why since he's never gotten lost in his life but most of his anxiety steams from this fear. So I just don't know what to do for him except to reinforce the fact that any adult in school would help him find his class, and he can't really get lost if he doesn't leave the building and even if that were to happen he knows his name address and phone number and my name and his dad's name and grandma's name so he can't get lost with all that info. I've tried to teach him what to do if we were to get seperated who to ask for help however it's a fine line as I don't know if I'm creating more stress or not. Anyway thanks again everyone.