*excerpt from original post May 3 2014 When The Words Fail He Sings….”Let It Go..”
As Johnny is finishing the last two months of Grade 3 we have experienced spikes in his anxiety. He is working so hard in school and doing really well. I have heard from parents and teachers who have noticed how social and friendly he is and how much he has changed in just a few years or even this year. It makes me and my husband glow with pride but another question forms in my mind. Does anyone notice his anxiety?
“Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let it show”
Is Johnny attempting to hide it at school? Does he “let it go” at home? Two nights ago I put dinner on the table and then went to let the cat in when I heard a bang and then lots of crying. My daughter calls me and says that “Johnny had an accident.” I come into the dining room and he is in tears, standing up and pointing to part of his dinner on the hard wood floors.
“Mommy fix it. Mommy fix it. It was an accident. I made a mistake. Please make me more dinner please. I need food. I need more salad. Why did it end up on the floor? Answer me PLEASE!!!’
He was having a meltdown.
He was crying over his accident and he was hungry but it was so much more than that. He was crying over the pressure of working so hard at school and trying to do his best and the pressure that comes with doing that. He was like a champagne bottle releasing its top. I think that teachers forget that kids are like a pendulum and you swing in the “fantastic wonderful” direction but the momentum forward has to come back and any strong push towards positive comes with great effort.
My wish is that at school the teachers give Johnny outlets for his anxiety and tools for self-regulation. My other wish is that they recognize that when they teach a child how to be like any other “normal” student at school when they are not that this comes with a price. The price is dis-regulation because Johnny and other kids like him on the spectrum bodies have troubles regulating all the input and they need supports and understanding. After all, recess is a time for neurotypical developing kids to run around and reset themselves so that they can get their bodies to learn again.
What do schools do for Autistic kids? This is what I think about when I look at my little boys emotion ridden face….he’s finally been able to let go. He doesn’t have to conceal anymore. He can feel. He can let it show.
*From Frozen, Christoper Beck and Disney