She runs

Yesterday I had my friend Kate and her little girl Abby over, and Kell and Jude over as well in the afternoon, which was really nice. Then we all had to go, Kell and I to school pickups, at 3:15. Because of the busy departures and the walk, I am five minutes late for Sienna, and she is nowhere to be seen when I arrive. I find her around the corner with her friend Imogen and Sienna runs away from me. I go back to her classroom and wait a little, as she was still with her (more responsible) friend and I figured her mum would be here soon. So Lisa arrived, with Ben - Imogen's brother - and Imogen came back to the classroom. Sienna trailed behind reluctantly on the hand of the year 2/3 teacher.

OK so none of this is really unusual, but from here we have a situation develop. Sienna and Imogen had caught a small grasshopper yesterday afternoon at our house and made it a two-shoebox 'house'. She had taken it to school and they had done show and tell about it at the end of today. Now we needed to let the grasshopper go so that it could find its own food, and I suggested we choose a school garden to let 'Lucy' the grasshopper go in, Imogen and everyone else agreed. Sienna started reacting and fighting and crying, but we talked about it for ten minutes and explained a lot of reasons why it was necessary before I asked Lisa to put it in the garden. We all watched and helped the grasshopper find a leaf to sit on and made sure it was ok, and I took a couple of photos for Sienna. She ran away.

So after a couple of minutes we all went and split off searching for her. I found her but then she kept running away was down a hill, I followed her and Lisa went back to watch Cedar for me. Imogen and Ben were chasing her, but it was making her run further and further away, so I asked them to take her school bag back to the pram and thank their mum for watching Cedar, that I would be back as quickly as I could. Then I walked down. Sienna had run right across the (large) school oval by now, and then I saw her heading for the boardwalk and hill on the other side of the oval. This hill is actually a back way to our house, so I had to stop her going that way, as I wouldn't be able to follow her and it led to a busy road. So I sprinted as fast as I could, almost caught up with her and she ran again. I called out 'stop' and she actually did - she must have been tired. She cried out 'but it's not fair!', and I said 'I know. You're right, it's not fair.' She crumpled, and then ran and jumped up on me, wrapped her legs around my waist and I carried her back across the oval.

Profuse thanks to Lisa for looking after Cedar and we were off to get Ash from kinder, only ten minutes late after all that. Last night she calls out to me from bed, daddy wouldn't do, and when I get there she says "I miss grasshopper" and sobs her little heart out. I printed her out some of the photos of grasshopper to keep beside her bed. This morning she has made grasshopper a card and a letterbox to put the card in at the garden, in case Lucy isn't there when she delivers the letter.

She has run a lot over the last year, at kinder she just used to run and hide from me but at school it's a bit more of a concern. This was outside of school hours anyway, yesterday's example, but we are working with her to find ways of knowing where to go or what to do when her emotions or senses are overwhelmed. She is not the only kid at school on the Autism spectrum so we are thinking of introducing a 'calm space', perhaps in the class or somewhere useful, so that at least she goes somewhere people know where she is. Especially when this happens during lunch time! Sometimes noone realises she is hiding until she doesn't go back to class. She can always talk it through later, though, so we'll get there!

So, it's today! Let's go!

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