Thursday, June 16, 2011


We are visiting a church's Vacation Bible School. I chickened out, Monday. Then I found out that the woman teaching 'Rella's class had 'Rella's favorite mints for the whole class, because she knew that 'Rella likes them and that we use them sometimes for oral motor and proprioceptive input when 'Rella needs it when we're out and about.


Tuesday morning, we showed up, bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed. Big Sis was plugged into a preschool class to help there with a friend from her new school. Twin Brother went to a class for his age group. And the staff at this VBS allowed my 'Rella to attend a class that is three grades behind her actual grade.


Tuesday and Wednesday were stellar days for 'Rella. This church family has put some really strong inclusion and accommodation pieces into place for kids like her


(I will write about those inclusion and accommodation pieces in another blog post or ten. I'm still processing them.)

This morning, Miss 'Rella was off. Dysregulated. Several events played out to make it worse. By the time we arrived at the church building, she was still upset and dysregulated. Not to the point of a fight-or-flight flare-up, although if you have a child on the autism spectrum, you know that a child can slip down that slope quickly from a point of being upset and dysregulated.

In the parking lot, she refused to get out of the car. She told me to call a babysitter and take her home, that she would not go to Vacation Bible School today.

Thank goodness, I had the cell phone number of one of her helpers angels.

(Yes, there are more than one.)

I texted Miss Kay, who asked where we were in the parking lot. I relayed our location, and Miss Kay was right there.


And my dysregulated little girl went willingly with Miss Kay.

I was just a little bit dysregulated at this point. I sortakinda wondered what would happen inside the building. I resisted the urge to go inside the building and try to peek at her. Instead, I went to the fellowship hall to find a place to volunteer again.

Miss Sherri came by the door of the room where I helped with both making snack and counting the offering today. Miss Sherri is another helper angel, like Miss Kay.

Miss Sherri said that my 'Rella was having a rough morning, that she was talking to herself a lot. (She recites lines from tv and movies when she's dysregulated.) She said that the teacher, Miss Katherine (yes, another angel), didn't blink, that she was giving 'Rella things to do, ways to participate, and ignoring the scripting.


Miss Sherri continued. (Kleenex alert.) She said that the kids in the class were fine with it all.

Sidebar: Children have sometimes been our biggest problem in a church setting. They have shushed my girl, implied that she is being "bad", admonished her in a condescending tone to use an indoor voice, moved away from her when she sat down by them, you name it, a lot of negative stuff has happened at church. And I think that she feels embarrassed. Embarrassed that she is dysregulated, that she needs some time (and grace) to settle herself down. And those negative feelings are the overwhelming sensation that override everything else God-related.

I explained that to Miss Sherri. She said the kids did not seem to be bothered by my 'Rella's dysregulation at all.


By the time VBS adjourned for the day, my 'Rella was almost back to the competent, confident, regulated child from the past two days. Her support staff said she finished strong today, despite the shaky start.

I know from past experience that a day begun in dysregulation and upset could have gone either way.

A little grace makes an enormous difference.


Susan said...

Thank you for sharing your moments of grace. I'm so happy to hear that you've found a supportive church community.*U*

Anonymous said...

I love this post! I am so very excited about the success everyone experienced! Thank you so much for sharing. - Amy Fenton Lee

Tarasview said...

oh my, this post made me cry. I am a pastor's wife and my oldest son is on the spectrum and has never been to VBS because he just can't handle it and we've never been in a church with any sort of inclusion system.

That is beautiful. So happy it went so well.

Michelle Smith said...

How wonderful that you have been led to such a loving, grace-filled church. We all need God's grace, especially children. None of us deserve it, yet all of us need it. What a blessing for your family. :)

Our Village is a Little Different said...

I really am so happy for you and your sweet girl.

Kelly said...

That is awesome! So glad for your daughter and your family to experience this at what sounds like such an awesome church family and VBS program.

Bekah and Corey said...

So, so happy for you, Penny!

Joy said...

Awesome!! I am so glad to read this and sooo glad to see angels helping give you relief.

The Glasers said...

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound!!!!!

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