It was 9:15 am and we were waiting for the bus to leave to go to the zoo. I realized they were running late since they were to leave at 9 exactly. I told my husband I was going to check it out. I didn’t want the monkey to see me. I wanted him to go in the bus. So I wanted to hide from him.
As I arrived, all the students were inside both busses, ready to leave. My son was outside, on the floor, fetal position, covering his ears, crying. His teacher, his paras, and the principal were trying to help him. He seemed unreachable.
When I arrived you could see the teacher’s expression of relief. I called out to him, wanting to get him to look up. When he did he jumped to me. My husband was behind him and he ran to him. I asked them if it was okay if we took him to the zoo ourselves. I worried that he may hurt someone in the bus. They said yes and we followed them.
When we arrived there were other schools with loads of kids. We knew this would be an issue. It was a lot. My son’s bus arrived and were forming in line. They had to wait to go in. I went and bought our tickets and asked if we could cut the line. My son was on my husband’s shoulders and was having a meltdown. It was too loud. It was too much.
The guard told me we had to wait our turn. She had other kids that were waiting longer and we needed to wait our turn. She was stressed and didn’t have any empathy for us. I don’t blame her. I know she was overwhelmed. I feel this is where autism awareness comes in. If she understood the amount of pain these situations cause kids like my son, the amount of courage it takes to go to these types of events, I think she’d have empathy and understanding. But she didn’t give me a chance to explain. She said no, I was to wait my turn.
So I went to the cashiers and asked to speak to a manager. When she came out, I explained my situation, and right away told me to go inside and skip the line The security guard came over. Said we couldn’t go in since she still needed to count all the kids. The manager told her, “Well add a one to your count.” Then she looked at me and said you can go in.
We forced the monkey to go in. He struggled but eventually he was okay. We went on a big artificial tree. One has to climb up one one of the branches and comes down in a slide. It took a while for him to feel safe but eventually he loved it. Other kids showed up and he had to wait his turn. He tried and did pretty good. My husband had knee surgery sometime back and he struggles to climb. So this was my turn. My husband carries my son on his shoulders when it gets tough and it’s my job to climb or run when needed. We make a great team! ❤️
After a while we eventually went to see the zebras, lions, and giraffes. We did good because it was quiet. The classes were not on that side of the zoo so my son enjoyed himself.
After a while he was done. He told us he was ready to go home. We tried to get him to join his class but he was done. He wasn’t budging. And since we didn’t want to cause another meltdown, we left. But overall, he tried, we tried, we gave it a go, and I think overall he did pretty good. My monkey struggled, yet he faced his fear. We only saw three animals, but the monkey also played in the playground while other kids were there, he didn’t fight other kids and he waited his turn to go down the slide, with all the noise he adjusted, and that’s way more than we could hope for. ❤️