Abi had her first field trip last Friday. We were all excited and holding our breath. Sometimes Abi has a hard time in new environments. The best we can tell, it is related to a depth perception issue. In darker rooms or new environments she can tense up, become overwhelmingly anxious, and begin shaking violently. A therapist once told us she has had kids (who are verbal) do the same thing when stepping off a rug. And when they ask, “We don’t understand- why are you so nervous?” They said, because I can’t tell if the floor is an 8th of an inch lower than the carpet, or 100 feet lower than the carpet.” Essentially, without having memorized an environment- certain sounds and places can make her muscles tighten and a panic rise.
So… with a field trip coming I knew there would be a lot of new things. I asked Abi if she wanted me there, she said “No.” Hahaha. This did not hurt my feelings, instead it was very exciting. That’s what we want! We WANT our girl to be independent and by showing that she didn’t need me there- she was also saying how comfortable she felt with her team.
SO alas I emailed her teachers and asked them what the typical protocol was for a situation like ours. The next morning her teacher and nurse met me in the hallway at drop off. Even though the trip was weeks away, they had already figured it all out! First, a nurse would be going with them and would feed Abi. Second, they had already spoken to the bus driver and knew how to tie down Abi’s chair. Third, Abi would have her morning assistant and her amazing student support services teacher with her as well. I took a deep breath, signed all the paperwork, and then spent the following two weeks talking to Abi about how much fun her first field trip was going to be. (It helped that the pumpkin patch they were going to is only 8 minutes from my house.)
Finally the day was upon us. I dropped her off at school, sat stunned in the parking lot for a minute, and then headed home. I waited patiently at the house wondering incessantly how the day was going. And at noon I got an email that they were all back at the school and the trip had gone well. She did NOT like the wheelchair lift on the bus- which is good to know- and we will practice that before the next trip. But for the sake of a fun day, they carried her onto the bus when heading home and then placed her in her wheelchair. Other than that she LOVED the hayride (giggling and smiling the whole time) and did well on the ride back. We were all so proud! What a brave cookie.
That night I asked her a million questions about her day while she relaxed on a blanket next to the pumpkin she had brought home…
So thankful for awesome teachers and Abi’s brave and excited spirit!