This cold that’s going around like wildfire here has knocked me flat most of the week. I’ve been dragging along OK, but any ambitious plans – blogging or otherwise – are just toast this week.
But I will take a minute to brag on the students of all three of the autism classes at our elementary school.
We went to our big, local kids museum here yesterday on a field trip. And when I say ‘we’ I mean all three autism classes at school (Pre-K, K-2nd grade, 3rd-5th grade), which is about 20 kids total. Given that this museum is pretty much like the Hawaii of school field trips in our city, it’s always teeming with children. Wednesdays seem to be your best bet, but it was still pretty crowded.
Our gang was basically doing their thing (playing with the model trains, sorting fake produce in the pretend grocery store, racing models cars down the ramps, playing in the ball pits, and the usual things you’d figure they like) with barely a fuss let alone any big meltdowns or anything. I know our teachers are awesome, but dang!
Contrast this with the barely-contained anarchy going on around us. I occasionally had to serve as the J-Man’s force field to prevent the running, screaming, largely oblivious kids from plowing into him. One of them came within inches of impaling me with a hockey stick. He wasn’t intending to do me an injury, but I highly encourage the Catholic church to make obliviousness at least a venial sin or something. Needless to say, we hauled tail through the ‘real tools’ play area. Seeing kids sawing wood with real hand saws was plenty enough warning for me.
At one point, I stood there thinking, here people offer to assign us helpers if we need anything special during our visit at the museum (and for that matter, people generally expect our kids to be the ones melting down and having behavioral issues), but all the kids handled themselves wonderfully. I wish I could say the same about some of the other schools. To be fair, some of them showed how you can both have fun and not inflict damage on people or things, but that certainly wasn’t everybody. It seems like the standard for a good field trip at some schools should be higher than “no one got injured”.
With all the sensory chaos going on around them, it was a marvel to me that no one in our classes had any significant problems as best I could tell. Hey, I was pretty overloaded by the time we left. I think they handled it better than me! Oh, how we continually underestimate them.
They all seemed to find ways to handle it that worked for them. The J-Man came up with one of the more creative solutions in my opinion. He found a plastic egg and a plastic lime and carried them everywhere. Safety objects! (Again, two and only two!) As a matter of fact, sneaky guy brought the egg home with him… It’s now his favorite object of the week.
The J-Man was largely unimpressed by most of the interactive exhibits and play activities in them. He doesn’t get as fired up about trains and cars as some of his classmates do. Most of them didn’t particularly cater to his interests. However, there was one big exception.
Behold! The almighty water table!
It’s basically a glorified, deep bird bath with water flowing into it (the blue, ramp-like thing on the left). The water was unbelievably cold. But he was in it up to his shoulders (had to change shirts after), and he actually tried to climb in it a couple of times! As ‘whatever’ as he was with other parts of the museum, the water table was like a state of rapture for him. I hated to take him away from it, but he was shivering!
So, Daddy knows what he’s building this summer. That is, once I finally get over this stupid cold.