Too Much

As I’ve said, Little Man has been struggling as of late. We have one more day of school. One. More. Day. He’s battling, but we’re seeing behaviors we haven’t seen in months. His toolbox is completely out the window. It sucks.

Yesterday, for Father’s Day, we went indoor cart racing. I was a little nervous about it, but didn’t really think it would be a big deal. It wasn’t ridiculously loud, and he would have a helmet on anyways. We watched four or five races. He seemed okay for the most part, although he was lashing out and had a bit of temper tantrum – more from being hungry and having to wait than anything else. We fed him, and waited for our turn.

When our race started, I hung back, not going too fast. I’m not much of a speed queen anyways – afraid of crashing or spinning out. I did pass him, and he seemed okay. But then people were passing  and bumping him, and he got stuck in a corner. He worked to get out, but couldn’t manage it. They had to stop the race and help him. He decided he was done, so they guided him off the course. Yes, we are that family that has to shut the place down. I was reminded of our ski trip last year when they had to stop the lift twice for us. He and I decided to ditch our second race.

We should have known. We should have seen it coming. We should have realized it would be too much for him – the speed of the people around him while trying to drive his own cart, his inexperience driving a cart, the noise, the anxiety of racing itself….too much sensory input, too much performance anxiety, too much stress. We should have seen it would happen. But he’s been doing so well, has come so very far.

I have to give him credit – he tried something new, something he wasn’t sure of. He did it, even if for just a brief period of time (I think he made it through three laps). We told him we were very proud of him for trying, because we are so proud of him.   While I felt defeated in a way, it also felt like a win, because he did try. Autism won for a moment, but it didn’t win the day. He may never drive a race cart again, but he did it.

I don’t always get this sensory stuff

Today, we hauled  took the kids to the trampoline place.  Little Man was happier with this choice than the  original Six Flags destination.  (He is not really a fan of roller coasters – heights and all that stuff). He’s never been to a trampoline place, although he has been to Pump It Up a few times. I honestly  had no clue how he would do. I figured we would maybe get ten minutes out of him, and he would spend the rest of the time with his headphones on and his face in his phone or my iPad. He can be weird about having shoes and socks off outside of home too. I went in prepared for it to be a typical, sensory-overload outing.

There must be something about the jumping. He made it ninety minutes before he hit the wall. Ninety minutes is HUGE, and was completely unexpected.  My sister is a para, and she said sometimes that type of sensory input has the opposite effect you’d expect. Somehow, that makes sense. Being able to move made the noise less of an issue, made the number of people moving around him less of an issue.

He did have a rocking table/sitting thing (I don’t have a clue what it’s called but it was a board with a big ball  in the middle. He could sit on it and rock it back and forth or all around) in the SAI classroom at his last school.  He dug it. I tried to find one online, but no luck. Anyways, the motion settled him, calmed him, helped him focus.

I’ve learned it usually has to be his choice of motion, although that having-to-choose thing can become overwhelming. He will seek out my exercise ball at home and roll around on it. Today reminded me that motion, in his time and his way, is a tool we need to put back in his rotation.

I’m still working out this sensory stuff, mostly because it seems to be the exact opposite of what you would think it should be.  Whatever it takes, right? All I know is he jumped, surrounded by other kids, in a noisy building, for ninety minutes. And that, my friends, is awesome.