Clouds, May 2010

Clouds, May 2010

Friday, November 1, 2013

a different kind of super

This time last year most of us (in & around NJ, as well as Long Island) had already been without power for several days (ours would return by November 6th). Hayden actually resumed school before our neighborhood's electricity was even restored-- of course adding more confusion to an already confusing situation for him-- but that powerless time frame of about a week, made us pretty damn lucky compared to many others.

Nonetheless in Hayden's Parent-Teacher Journal there was a big gap... an entry on October 26th & then nothing until November 5th. They actually had a Halloween parade that day-- Hayden dressed up as a doctor. I remember speaking to another mom while we were out on the field watching all the students, & she offered up use of her washer & dryer-- their side of town had power by that time.

I first returned to the grocery store on November 7th, but even then the freezer aisles were still empty & dark. I found this cell phone pic I took that day:

So this year I was really looking forward to Hayden (hopefully) enjoying Halloween again. But on his level, mind you... I mean we may not eagerly make plans or that sort of thing because we never know how long he will last with certain tasks, but at least he can enjoy whatever festivities he wants, for the amount of time that's comfortable to him.

Superstorms aside, however, the whole concept of Halloween is not an easy one for most children with special needs. Did you know that just the part of dressing up can cause them anxiety? Or trigger their sensory issues? Did you know that the motor planning involved in going door-to-door is not necessarily natural for them? And worse, the discouragement this can cause them if someone is not home to answer the door? Did you know that not only is one neighborhood potentially too much for them, but even just one street?

So just imagine what it would take for someone like that to walk up to someone else's front door (keeping in mind they probably have social anxiety too), then knock or ring the doorbell, wait for someone to answer, then speak, then hold their bag open, put their hand in a bowl that might have many different textures in it, take one of something, & navigate back to the street potentially having to walk around other kids or step aside to let them by... then do this all over again... many times... as it gets darker outside.

Therefore when I say that as Hayden walked up to the first house by himself per his own request, & then no one answered, yet he still turned around & went across the street to another house, only to spot a smoke machine near the front door which he mistook as fire, but accepted our encouragement to continue, & followed our instructions not to walk on the lawn but to take the path, which triggered a hidden motion sensor inside of a 5-foot-tall witch, who moved & cackled at him, at which point another group of children were starting up the driveway as their parents looked on, so H reluctantly yet bravely continued towards the front door, briefly paused at the bottom of the short flight of front steps, & despite other children sort of walking around him by this point, still finished the task of accepting his very first piece of candy that night...
I can not just say, "Hayden went trick-or-treating last night," end of sentence.

Excuse me but my kid's accomplishment (yes, accomplishment) is basically comparable to the motor planning equivalent of a triathlon, demonstrating determination similar to that of a knight (btw the garb comparison here is important), while
courageously overcoming obstacles comparable to that of a survivor of I-don't-even-know what, in order to storm one of the most intimidating castles ever, & retrieve a candy reward of some sort which you won't even eat because of your food sensory issues... all for the sake of participating in something that you know other kids enjoy, so you want to enjoy it too.

Now maybe you can begin to understand where I'm coming from, when I say this is really super.

And the couple times that other children from school who happened to be trick-or-treating in the same neighborhood said, "Hi Hayden!" ... & he responded... oh, my... that part was like finding out you were nominated for something & then actually winning it.


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