Tag Archive: high school


I’m killing time in Barnes & Noble since they’re open until 11pm and I have nowhere to be until 11:30 when I pick up my daughter at prom.  I want to stay close, but not too close, and it’s too far to drive all the way home and back anyway.

I guess I should explain that my daughter has Asperger’s Syndrome, diagnosed during her sophomore year.  She’s very smart, polite and pretty, but has always been a loner — left out, teased, bullied, marching to the beat of a different drummer.  The other students either think she’s extremely brainy, or just odd, because of her advanced vocabulary, deep thinking, and a demeanor which shouts, “I want to be alone” even though that’s not what she means at all.

This is the first dance she’s been to since freshman year.  That was a disaster.  My husband and I took her out to eat since she didn’t have a date and of course there were a bunch of other students with their dates at the same restaurant a few tables away from us.  We dropped her off at the dance, then went to the movies.  An hour later, got a call from her that she wanted to be picked up right away because she was having a terrible time.  All the kids were “bumping and grinding” and she was being ignored.  She has had no desire to go to any dance since then — until now — senior prom.

Thinking back to the freshman dance experience, and the numerous times we’ve had to pick her up early at school events when she was either uncomfortable or bored or just decided she was ready to leave, I’m hoping for the best – that she’ll have a fun and memorable evening – or at least make it through the whole dance until it ends at 11:30.  I’m also prepared for the worst – a call from her or a chaperone asking to pick her up.  That’s why I’m staying fairly close. So far, so good though.

She doesn’t have a date, but met up with a group of about 20 classmates at one of their homes where the parents were putting on dinner for all of them.  Some were going as couples, most were going “stag”.  I walked her in and chit-chatted with some of the other parents as we took photos and complimented the young adults in all their finery before taking our leave of them. Since she doesn’t have her own car yet, she was to get a ride to the dance from a classmate.

Texts… dance started at 8:30 pm
8:44 pm   Hey
8:44 pm   Everything ok?
9:34 pm   Yes I guess

No more since then, and it’s now 10:02.  I’ll figure no news is good news.  Fingers crossed that she’ll have a positively memorable evening.

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:

  1. Keep written permission on file with the school to be excused from class or activities to the clinic in times of feeling overly anxious.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.