Tomorrow, we’re attending the Florida state championships for high school boys’ soccer. My daughter’s school is competing in the championships. For the semi-finals yesterday – over 450 of her fellow students crowded onto 7 buses for the 2-hour trip to Tampa to support the team. Sounds like a lot of fun, right? For most people yes, but for someone with Asperger’s Syndrome the noise and celebrating could quickly become overwhelming.
My daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome during her sophomore year and we deal on a regular basis with what I call “crowd based anxiety”. She simply cannot stand to be in loud, crowded places and most of the time, feels the urge to escape these situations.
This poses a big challenge for fitting in to high school which is the epitome of “loud and crowded.” Pep rallies, sports events, cafeteria, dances, assemblies and even changing classes can be unnerving to someone with Asperger’s whose senses are hyper sensitive.
Here are five different ways I thought I’d share, as to how we deal with this:
- Keep written permission on file with the school to be excused from class or activities to the clinic in times of feeling overly anxious.
- Determine participation based on how the Aspergian is feeling that particular day. If there’s a confident, positive attitude, things are usually work out fine. If not, it’s a mess.
- Keep a charged cell phone to call or text for a pick up in case it’s after school hours but before the event was scheduled to end.
- Define a quiet place or friend the Aspergian can go to in order to calm themselves. In #1, it was the school clinic. Depends on the event/place.
- Or, simply avoid the situation, if you’re worried about these supports being unavailable or inaccessible, especially when far from home. Just don’t go — do something else instead!
So what are we doing about the big game tomorrow? Instead of signing up for the bus trip, or – God forbid – skipping the game, we’re going to the game, but taking our own car so that we have relative peace and quiet on the way to and from the game, a place to escape to, and the freedom to leave if the need arises. Now… to figure out what to do about Grad Nite!
If you have tips to share, please do! I welcome your comments.