A Sensory Ride: What Would The Bus Say?

 

A Sensory Ride2

Hi Stevie, this is Bus.

I was watching you today, as I do most school days.  I saw you trying to get comfortable but the seat-belt was too tight and you couldn’t lean forward at all. It isn't supposed to be that way.

You should be able to shift your position and sit comfortably on my bench seat. It isn’t a part of me—that car seat with the harness buckle. I just want you to know that.

I have gentle seat-belts like you have in the cars in your driveway. My belts would never keep you so tightly against my bench back that you can’t take a deep breath without feeling restricted by the straps.

Maybe you could ask the Ed Techs to loosen the straps for you?  It would be a lot better than getting upset because you aren’t comfortable. I think it would take the edge off, and help you relax into my seats.

Lately, I’ve felt your bouncing more on my bench seats. I am glad my cushions could absorb that energy for you so you don’t get hurt. Can you imagine if they were metal or wooden benches? That would make a painful ride. My bouncy seats keep people comfortable while they ride on me.

When I come to a stop sign, I must stop. My bounciness also stops. When the bouncing stops, you start to get antsy like you want to keep on bouncing. Then you start thrashing and kicking and that is really hard on me.

But it must be helping you in some way or you wouldn’t do it.

Is my engine causing a vibration that is like a tickle to you so you kick into me to stop the vibes? Maybe you just like the deep-pressure sensation in your legs when you kick the seat in front of you?

Your cries are loud and my frame and cushions absorb it from you so it doesn’t stay out in the open to hurt your ears.  The problem is the other people on my benches also hear your wailing, and they can’t absorb it like I can.

It hurts them.  I see the smaller ones cover their ears to muffle the sounds. I see the bigger ones try to calm you down.

Most of the time it doesn’t work so they hold you back against my seat. They are trying to keep you from getting up from your seat while I’m moving.  They just want to keep you safe!

It looks terrifying to see you held back against me like that. Your face changes with every muscle tight.  Drops stroll down from your reddened eyes, glistening as the travel off your face. Your body stiffens and contorts, and become so very strong!  You try everything to be loose of them.

They aren’t trying to hurt you. It’s just the opposite: they are trying to help you!  They would let go of you if you could be safe while you sit in my seat.

Remember when you would bring all your stuffed critters with you to play with on my seats? That was a great way to entertain yourself and stay calm on the bus!  But then you started throwing them at the driver.  Those toys didn’t hurt me though.  Now they are up front by my face, next to the driver’s seat so I get to enjoy them.  (And, I think the driver likes them too.)

Your critters are soft, vibrant and fun to look at. When I used watch you play with them, it made me really happy, just like you!

Your happiness spreads to everyone around you—especially to me.  I could watch you all day long. Your sweet face barely contains all the happiness it expresses. Your eyes look big and deep into your critters as your mouth stretches wide, like it’s not possible to hold back the joy within your heart. Sound almost escapes but you don’t want to make the noise. It would be so loud and hurt your ears so you hold that all inside. It thrills me to see you overwhelmed by joy.

Most people who ride on my seats don’t experience the intensity of emotions that you do.  Most riders stifle their feelings, because of the other people around them. But you don’t. You are pure 100% “you”--  un-hindered.

It is a breath of fresh air for me. It’s like opening my windows to have someone like you ride me every day to school.

So I am happy to absorb your extra sounds and energy when you need me too. I am here and I am able to handle it. I will absorb all I can and try my best to give you a nice ride to and from school each day.

You are welcome on my seats and I am happy to assist you.

With much love and adoration,

Bus 35

At this time, Stevie is doing great on his bus to and from school!  For many years (and still from time-to-time) he had extreme difficulties with panic attacks and sensory issues on the bus.  This post is written with intent to explore some of the reasons why it had been so hard for him.  

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Thriving!

(For those new to this blog, let me do a quick introduction of the family: Sage and Hope are 10 year old twins (Sage has autism and ADHD, Hope is NT), Stevie is my 7 year old (autism, ADHD, food allergies, asthma) and Joy is our 19 month old baby girl, who is NT as far as we can tell.)
Rose Colored Glasses-sm

Did you know that pure joy pumps you up into a wild explosion of squirting mess, kinda like a water balloon being filled until it bursts?

I hope I don't get any of you wet.

Today is a snow day, but even better, yesterday was report card day!

Now, I do realize that most of you don't like either, but maybe I can at least change your mind on the report card part!  I have seen too many facebook posts this morning about strangling a certain groundhog to even go there today.

Yesterday the kids brought home their report cards. Hope got a great report, as she always does.  She constantly amazes us; we are so proud of her!

Sage however, doesn't test well. He is so very bright, but it is never reflected on his report cards or tests, which is a constant source of frustration for me.  I keep thinking that one day, he'll show them all what he's made of and they will be shocked into the reality that the parents were right all along (snicker).

So, when I got his envelope with the report in it, I braced myself. I told myself that the report card will be low because he doesn't test well, and I wondered when the reports would start to reflect his abilities.  

When I opened it, to my surprise he got all great marks!  With only below average for the working well in groups--no surprise there!

I know that he exceeds the expectation for math, geography, technology, and science, but to get average marks on anything is great improvement!

I am so very proud of him!

Then, I looked in Stevie's book bag to find his reports.  We had already had his IEP last week, where they said in all areas he is THRIVING!  He is doing great in the regular-ed class, he is working independently in the self-contained class and he is a very hard worker. They commented on how bright he is, and how he remembers what he learns and never forgets.  

I was positively beaming :)  

IEP's have been a source of stress and dread--especially for him as we have had to fight and fight to have his needs met.

This year has been a complete turn around from the past.

The teachers and therapists all agree with his remarkable improvement, progress and potential.

So knowing that, as I read the daily report yesterday, I just could no longer contain myself!

It said that Stevie is "a model student for friends during group activities!" 

My boy!

The one that had such a hard time the last couple of years, is a role model!

I just want to soak it all in--all the raving about my special children--each in their own way.

God has done miracles and given us a time of rest, and dare I say "favor" with the school this year.  

This is definitely well beyond my wildest imagination!

"God can do anything, you know--far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!" Eps 3:20 (MSG)