Happy Friday (The Saturday Morning Edition)

Whew, what a Friday! Our first Community Based Instruction outing, first High School Pep Rally, best day ever :)

If you have ever taught, raised, met someone with Autism, you know how many challenges you face entering an unstructured setting filled with the unknown. The "unknown" is pretty terrifying for us educators, service providers, family members... We are the best planners really, always making lists, schedules, visual aids, social stories and videos, making sure we know the best ways to get in and out, going to the setting in advance to prepare ourselves and our children/students for possible challenges and triggers. But we can never fully prepare for an outing, for a stop somewhere outside of our controlled environments. There are many unknowns...

"Will it be noisy?", "Will there be a crowd?", "Will there be small children or infants nearby?", "Will someone approach my child/student?", "Will my child/student wander off?", "Will we have to wait long?", "Will there be a traffic jam?", "Will we have to drive a different route?", "Will everything we planned for be available, or will something be missing/broken/out of stock?"...

"What will I do if something doesn't go according to my plan?"

Despite the stress and challenges we face as the planners, we need to remember to pack that up silently and be our most enthusiastic and positive selves for our kids. Never underestimate how your own worries and stresses can impact them. If we create a fearful, stressful environment that can increase anxiety for our perceptive learners. Parents know this better than anyone, it's truly amazing to watch a parent put on their brave face when walking into a challenging situation, knowing well the emotions happening inside of them.

One of our biggest fears as planners, is that we will miss something, something will go wrong and there will be a meltdown, and people will not understand. Over the years I have run into this often, but for every 9-11 call, judgmental onlooker, unsympathetic comment, threatened lawsuit over an exploding container of cottage cheese, there are those few understanding strangers who offer their help, move others out of the way, or even just pretend nothing is happening as you carry a crying child/adult through their checkout aisle, not to go unmentioned are the store managers who order a clean up of the crashed olive oil display case and refuse any reimbursement for their damaged products.

Through it all we know how essential these experiences are, for our learners and children to become members of their communities, to open up their worlds..

Yesterday? One of those great days where all the planning paid off, all the unknowns turned into positive experiences, a success over all :) Not only did we have a wonderful outing and make a few new friends and connections in our local shops and library, but later we conquered my greatest fear - a pep rally with 1,800 students attending! Our boys cheered on all their classmates, one student even gasped and cheered through the suspense of the egg race! We even had our first PBSIS winner with a CiCis Pizza gift card :)

Fantastic Friday, and looking forward to a restful weekend (full of course of developing programs, data sheets, materials, and plans for the upcoming week)!

Never forget the days that go well, when we are pleasantly surprised. Never let the days that don't go so well deter you from making some changes and trying again.

Best wishes all, and as always if you need any suggestions please feel free to comment or email me directly!

2 comments

  1. Yay! Glad your community trip went well! That's always a relief :) Just found you on TPT and am looking forward to following you :)

    Brie - Breezy Special Ed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Brie! I just checked out your site as well and you have some wonderful resources on there!! Can't wait to keep reading :)

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