Today I left Emma snuggling with her dad so I could be at Chase’s Valentine’s Day party. Party days are particularly difficult for him. The regular routine of the day is completely out of kilter, the kids are riled up, and my sensory sensitive kiddo becomes even more so. Today the routine changed even more exponentially. An Olympic silver medalist came to school to demonstrate her sport, and I hear that Chase spent the rest of the day showing his teachers how high he could jump – apparently she jumped really high from a standing position and knocked the socks off my young impressionable son. As he excitedly talked about how high he could jump I realized that I could capitalize on this excitement and see about getting him involved in Special Olympics.
When I got to the resource room another child announced to him that I had arrived. Chase came rushing out of the room. He excitedly showed me his stash of cards, a pencil, and the other great stuff he received. We soon jetted down to join his regular ed class. His teacher and I stood off to the side and just smiled as he took his cards and immediately handed them out to his special friends. Within minutes one of his classmates approached him with a card. He beamed and handed his treasure to me for safe keeping. His momentum broken,he looked around the busy classroom and I gently asked him if he had given all of his cards out. He looked up at me and then looked in his bag.
“I didn’t get a card yet!” a helpful young man announced. Chase then went around the entire room and asked each and every child if they had received a card from him. It warmed my heart that he wanted all of his classmates to receive a card, but even more so to realize that he had particular children that he gravitated too first.
I looked around and watched the interactions of the students with one another. I listened to their conversations, watched them unscramble words on their place-mats, and write beautiful notes to their parents. Chase sat in his own little world. He painstakingly colored his heart “This is for my best friend.” Another child turned to him and said, “Alissa, right?” “No, my other favorite friend.” He responded with rising agitation . I crouched down next to him and asked who that was. He floundered. I decided to give him a little space. He showed Mrs. S, and she recommended that he write a note to his dad. He stomped his foot and said, “I told you I’m not writing anything.” She calmly responded, “How about draw a train.” He brightened up, rushed to his seat and drew a train. After he finished he announced he wanted to go back to Mrs. M’s room. I wasn’t surprised.
Soon after arriving at the room he handed his card to Mrs. M, gave out cards to the three aides in the room, rubbed his eyes and said, “Mommy, I’m tired. Can we go home?” My heart constricted with pride, I could tell that he had reached his limit. I know that party days can be draining, and today was no exception. He put on his coat, grabbed his coat and backpack, and as we headed out of school he reached for my hand with the sweetest smile on his face.