Today at the school there was a special afternoon of activities celebrating the cultures of Australia's Indigenous people. At the end of the afternoon there was a performance of traditional dance. This involved a lot of loud noises. Feet stomping, hands clapping, sticks tapping, and men shouting and singing. LOUD!!! We were sitting on the floor. MissK on one side of me and MissG on the other. MissG has numerous sensory sensitivities, and loud noise is a big trigger for her.
As soon as the show started I began to watch her for signs that she was becoming overwhelmed so we could leave when she needed to. After about 2 minutes MissG said, "It's very loud". "Yes, do you want to go?" "Not yet." I wasn't expecting that. She then sat through about 20 minutes of the performance, without flinching once.
Her shoulders were not hunched.
She didn't cover her ears.
She didn't try to hide behind me.
As soon as it was finished she wanted to go. I pushed her to stay a minute longer so we could take a photograph with some of the performers. I really wanted to have a reminder of the performance, and of the milestone MissG had reached in being able to sit through it, noise and all. I got the shot, and we went outside.
Then I realised I had pushed it too far. The meltdown began. Suddenly everything was wrong. She couldn't carry her bag anymore (I offered to carry it). She wanted a balloon (they had run out). She didn't want to leave (BabyR was overdue a feed and an nappy change and I really needed to get home). Someone looked at her!! It went on.
As I did my best to be calm for her and tried to help her through it with many eyes on us, even though I was sorry I pushed the limits too far, I found myself feeling just a bit proud. Even though she was in the middle of a meltdown she said to me, "I want to run away". She didn't actually do it. She just said it.
In the middle of a meltdown, even though she was unable to stop herself from crying and yelling and being irrational about everything, she was talking to me in clear sentences about how she was feeling.
The meltdown only started after spending 20 minutes in a highly sensory environment, and having to wait to leave when she wanted to go immediately, instead of during the first 5 minutes of the performance.
And I am happy for her. She loves to dance, and to watch people dancing. She loves music and all kinds of performances. So to see her today able to sit and enjoy the whole experience made me very happy for her.
Yes. My girl is making progress.