Taking the Scenic Route

Different Perspective

23rd July 2008

Different Perspective

posted in Autistic Life, VBS, Zane |

This story comes from back during Bible School, and I kept forgetting to add it.

There was a boy there, about Zane’s age (not in Zane’s exact group, but in a group we were rotating with) who was causing difficulty.  I wasn’t able to look outside Zane much, but this guy had sort of caught my radar to a degree already on the first day, but the second day was our first run in with him. 

One of the group games that day was for two teams of kids to line up in between two buckets.  The front bucket had water, the back one was empty.  The first person in line grabs this big sponge, soaks it and starts passing it back.  As it gets passed back, the kids alternate between putting it over their heads and between their legs to pass it to the next person. When you get to the last bucket the sponge is squeezed out and then passed back to the front of the line. The team with the most water in the back bucket wins.

This kid ended up in front of us and was upset when Zane wasn’t able to do his pass without me helping him figure out how to do it.  (it took him two passes to really get what to do and then he was fine).  This kid started making comments that made the Mama Bear and the former bully victim rise up in me and it was everything I could do to remain calm at that point.  He was whining “why does he (Zane) have to be on our team, we are going to lose, it’s not fair…” and on and on.  Like I said, at first it made me irrationally angry, but I managed to get out something eloquent like “Winning isn’t important as everybody feeling included and having fun” and “Jesus cares more about people not having their feelings hurt than winning”.  He kept arguing back that “not winning hurts my feelings”, and another host of “not fairs” and sundry other complaints about Zane’s presence. 

As I watched him failing to notice it was his turn (and Zane just doing fine) a few rounds, I calmed down a bit and I realized that *something* was up with this kid too. He was so incredibly fixated on Zane doing it “wrong” (long past the point where Zane actually was doing it wrong) and losing the game that he kept having to be prompted to pay attention and not able to complete his turn correctly either (he would just grab the sponge, get confused, and just hand it to Zane instead of doing the over the head/under the legs thing). I also got the distinct impression that this boy was probably repeating things that had been said about him and was desperately trying to position himself as “above” Zane in the pecking order.  My heart really softened to him when I realized that he probably spent a lot of his life as the victim instead of the bully.

There were a few more incidences like that during the recess time (although the others were from afar because I made sure that Zane wasn’t next to him any more).  At the next activity, another helper person tentatively came up to me and asked if I was that person from the tv interview on autism.  lol.  In the course of the conversation, she told me she was a teacher and supposed to be just floating, but had spent an inordinate amount of time with this boy and wondered if I had noticed anything a bit off.  I told her about the race, and that it seemed like he responded better when you really broke down the language and was very literal and direct to get him to respond more appropriately.  (btw, it wasn’t done in a gossipy way at all, more of a “I suspect you have experience in more difficult behaviors and can brainstorm with me on solutions”) 

Later, after the snack, while we were watching all of the kids run around like crazy people, I had a similar conversation with the preacher’s wife.  She said that she found he responded very well and calmed down when she gave him big hugs.  I was genuinely excited to hear that she had found something that reached him and said so.  Luckily, I didn’t complete my sentence, because she followed with something along the lines of “love making a difference…”.  Well, that’s totally true. However, in that moment I had to stifle an amused giggle because I realized how strongly our experience in life changed our perception of the exact same incident.  She was seeing “troubled kid, love makes all the difference in behavior” and I was seeing “sensory seeking kid, deep pressure (and concrete directions) makes all the difference in behavior”  lol.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008 at 9:34 PM and is filed under Autistic Life, VBS, Zane. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

There are currently 3 responses to “Different Perspective”

  1. 1 On July 24th, 2008, Jfers_mom said:
       

    Hi, Sunshine.
    Just wanted to make a comment or two.
    What a class act you were to handle that situation like that. You are a brilliant woman. I’m so proud of you!

    The other thing is another ‘different perspective’. The title of your blog is ‘Taking the Scenic Route’. I don’t know if you remember how your dad and I always used that phrase. From the beginning of our marriage (honeymoon) we used it when we took a wrong turn. We have never been lost, we have always been ‘taking the scenic route’. It made for a much more pleasant trip, and some interesting stories.

    Mom

     
  2. 2 Jennifer On July 24th, 2008, Jennifer said:
       

    Where do you think I got the idea for the name? :wink: I am on a very different parenting journey than I thought when I started the journey…sort of off the map, so to speak. :lol:

     
  3. 3 On July 24th, 2008, Jfers_mom said:
       

    I figured thats what it was, but sometimes we pick up a phrase and we don’t have any idea where it came from.

    Your journey is certainly ‘off the map’. I’ve always said that your life story would make an interesting book….think about it.

    Mom

     
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