At a party and at the pool: being flexible and friendly

Sometimes I have a great event to blog about or an idea for a post, but keep delaying to and it doesn’t come to fruition. This particular post was planned for the last week of October 2016 :p Well, better late than never!

There were 2 stand-out occasions this last week of October, where Little Star showed all those social and flexible muscles we have been exercising in the playroom paid off in the outside world 🙂  Actually there were 3 but I can’t remember the third one :’

A Party

 

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At the party

 

The first was a Halloween Party organized by her school on 28 October (she goes to a regular school twice a week). Initially, I did not want to take her, because of all the potentially sensory overload situations she could encounter there — crowds, loud noises, screaming kids. The party was in the evening-night as well, and Little Star goes to bed pretty early — in the past messing with her bedtime has led to massive meltdowns.

Putting our reservations aside though, we decided to give it a try, with a promise to leave as soon as Little Star got upset. We know the headmistress and teachers put a lot of effort into this party and since it was Little Star’s new school, it was worth checking out. And we were right, the decorations were amazing!

But even more amazing, Little Star stayed for 1 hour at the party, and quite happily too. I can only describe to you the chaos and noise and packed house and garden, the rest you have to imagine. Children running and yelling in all corners, crowded with more children and parents, boisterous game posts, and whistles! Each child was given a whistle, and boy did they make use of it. Everyone in costumes.

Little Star has a hearing sensitivity and she gets upset in overcrowded spaces. But she did not this time. We stayed mostly in the bubble section, where she played with the teachers and some of the kids. She even wore her Halloween costume hat for almost the whole duration! Normally and glasses or hats of fussy things on the face annoy her. Maybe because she saw all the other kids in costume, so she was ok with it… interesting!

It was not until the mealtime was called that she got frustrated. As the crowd converged at one location. The tipping point was when a skeleton fell from a tree beside her kiddie table. Little Star was bothered by it, and kept pointing (! she doesn’t point normally!) at the skeleton on the floor. Even after I threw if behind a fake tombstone, she did not want to sit at that “unfortunate” table again ;p We went home after that. But what a great hour it was!

Of course it doesn’t mean she is over her sensory issues. She still gets frustrated in crowds, and especially cannot eat in these environments. But hopefully, this is a sign of her flexibility, where she can tolerate, even enjoy them in certain circumstances.

The Pool

 

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I didn’t have a camera with me at the time, so here is a generic photo of Little Star swimming

 

At the swimming pool, there was a family of preteen girls and a little boy in the water. They were fun and boisterous and Little Star was attracted to them almost immediately. In the past, she would not play with other children even if she seemed interested. She would watch them from afar, but once they try to approach her or got too close she would move away without looking at them much. She would grin but would not give them eye contact, funny 🙂

This time was an exception. When the other children approached her (because Little Star is giggling and jumping and splashing, she is a cute kid magnet in the water), she kept smiling while looking at them and didn’t move away. And the kids responded by playing with her 🙂 one of the preteen girls especially took a liking to Little Star, following her around the pool, and Little Star liked it. They kept grinning at each other and doing funny antics.

She has really come so far with her interest in interacting with other people! All those times in the playroom with us and with different volunteers helped her feel that people are fun, exciting, and not threatening or scary (which could be what she thought of before). I can’t say she will be like this with everyone (she still doesn’t respond well to folk who are pushy or demanding). But am glad she is now generalizing that ease with people to the outside world, as long as they are willing to meet her halfway.

Support our fundraiser to attend an autism training in Dec 2016. Head over to Little Star Art Shop on Facebook or in this blog today, and get some posters or postcards for the holiday season 🙂

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