Here is Caleb’s little sister ❤️ Today, she took part in three events at the children’s Primary School Sports Day.
In the first and second individual races, she was first across the finish-line, and then in the team relay event her group came second! She was absolutely on Top of the World, and basqued in all the deserved praise.
Her 9 year old brother also picked up 2nd place for the Long Distance Race, and came 3rd in the Sprint. He enthusiastically carried on his own Sports Day in the garden, with his sister, as soon as they returned home 😀
To be honest, the pair of them had been buzzing since bedtime, last night. Excited. Nervous. Going to dream about it! Today, searching for us in the crowd. Big waves!
But that is just NOT the case for Caleb, our oldest, 11 year old, Awesomely Aspergers boy. Things couldn’t be further from this happy picture!
It has always mystified me how much discomfort Sports Day brings Caleb, on EVERY level.
Is it the change from the usual school day routine? Motor control challenges? Team events? Physical exertion? Public praise? The disappointment? Crowds of spectators?…
I’ve never really researched it as an Aspergers issue, but I can tell you that Caleb and Sports Day, for whatever reason, have a troubled history!
Last year seemed a lot better because Caleb had a gentle-natured male teacher who he massively looked up to, and the competitive events were reduced to a short period, with fun activities and group games taking up the majority of the day. Caleb even happily acknowledged we were there watching (!), which was amazing because usually my presence only seems to exacerbate his misery. Playing football that day, he regularly called over to us, and seemed very proud!
But having recently moved to a new school, Caleb struggled today, albeit he bounced back quickly when home. He talked about the positives much more than in his younger years. He was keen to point out what he’d succeeded at. Happy classmates didn’t criticise that he was allowed to sit out of the sprint race. No one insulted him.
But not a pleasurable day!
So I tried to put myself in his Aspergers shoes…. And this is the ‘experience’ I imagined…
Dazzling sun or drizzle assault on skin; What will these next hours hold?
Shoe laces have (AGAIN) come undone. Fingers shake as I bend down.
DON’T look for those familiar faces in the crowd. A frenzy of excited children, surround. A rush of activity, where to now?
Sit there! Get in line! Get ready! Look smart! An in-charge voice rings out LOUD across the field.
A high pitched whistle blows. Cheers and chanting explode. From somewhere my own name is called. “Faster! Faster! Come on! You can do it!”…Every stranger’s eye on that finish line, high expectations abound.
The scent of cut grass mixes with sweaty bodies. This body, no longer my own… Heavy limbs, prickly skin, aching chest. Breathing shallow.
Senses in overdrive, yet feeling my energy leave. So weary.
Team points, others look to me… So much for just blending into the background.
Everyone else happy, celebrating community?
Pressure. Scrutiny. Competition.
Broken routine. Adapted rules.
1st? 2nd? 3rd? Not today. Yet to know HOW THAT feels.
But all the fun’s in the taking part, I’m told.
Glad I didn’t keep Caleb off school, despite secretly wishing for rain! Proud this is another tough area he is facing and navigating his way through.
Maybe I need to look into it more, to help him keep moving onwards and upwards. I can see, from a quick google search, we’re far from alone in this challenge.
If you can relate in ANY way, or have your own insight, I really would love to hear your thoughts and/or experiences 😊
Another Sports Day over!!✅
And Caleb already has a smile back on his face, on the same day!
This is most definitely progress ❤️
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