Autism. Cross Country, and the aftermath.
The school sports year has progressed from swimming to cross country running. This time last year Bright Eyes refused point blank to run in any of the practices and spent much of the time crying and refusing. On the day of the carnival he was adamant he wouldn't go to school, so he had a day at home.
This year, he did at least do the practice. And he did get to school, although I had to ignore a whole lot of "I'd prefer to be doing swimming training Mum. Take me to the pool!" all morning before 8.30am. AND, he actually lined up for the race and started to run.
From where I was standing (behind some bushes so that he wouldn't catch sight of me which was my idea for avoiding a meltdown) I saw him start happily, get half a lap around of the field and then collapse crying and screaming into a heap near his teacher's aide.
We looked on for a while, hoping that the situation could be salvaged, but there was a lot of arm waving going on and eventually he was brought over to me, demanding to 'head home now!' The tactic then was to wait out the tantrum, not talk about going home and see if distractions would work.
At one point he said to me, "I want to take evasive action," which is a rather wonderful line straight from the Thunderbirds and I started to giggle, as did his teacher who was standing right there. He said, "It's not funny! Stop laughing!" which was rather good because it showed he was very aware of our reactions.
Next I said, "You sound like you feel pretty bad. Where does it feel bad?"
"I feel bad in my brain, because it won't let me run," he said. Poor little kid.
Finally, after about half an hour of asking to go home, someone told him that all the littler kids were having recess, so he raced off to eat and play and it was all good. I picked him up happy at the end of school.
So, a few good things and some progress compared to last year. I was pretty happy with the day overall, and happy with my own attitude towards the calming down bit of it.
I did notice later on that his voice seemed very husky and commented on it.
"It's because I was yelling the cheers for our team Mum," he told me. So at least there was something fun for him about the running carnival.