Third Grade Field Trip



Third Grade Field Trip

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Oregon Coast Aquarium

Third Grade Field Trip

Third Grade Field Trip

I have things I want to say about this adventure but the words seem hard to come by tonight.

Some stories simply aren't easy to document because the layers run deep.

There's my story, his story, and our story (the intersection of the two).

I'm wavering between facts and feelings and the parts that were fun for Simon and others that were a bit tough for my heart to witness. He's getting older and the kids are getting more socially sophisticated and that gap is getting bigger.

And yet, he is happy. He loved having a field trip, loved going to the beach, loved seeing the fish, loved having Doritos in his sack lunch, and he loved having me come along. And more than likely that's really all that matters.

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  1. Maureen

    2011-06-13 23:39:44 -0400

    Oh Ali, what an ache in my heart and tears in my eyes.

    I have adult children now who were pretty much ordinary children. But so often I wanted so much for them that, for their own reasons, they didn't have and/or want to have. Recently, seeing an adult 'child' happy in his chosen career and current relationship gave me so much joy and peace. With the foundation you give Simon, I think he will be able to find his way, maybe not the ordinary way, but the way that makes him happy.

    (Yes, 'your love opens the door to his heart".)

  2. Leea

    2011-06-14 01:39:19 -0400

    Its good to hear about Field Trips from the parent's prospective. When I first started 9 almost 10 years ago, I signed up to help at work with ALL the Field Trips, now only to the local library which is 5 miles (and I drive myself)..LOL....Now as for Simon, we have a 3rd grader who is in the same boat, socially years behind, but luckily we are a small school, the kids watch out for him, they understand ....We had a new child come in, and its where our now 4th grader started, and the growth is amazing when you look at where he began. Simon will be ok, he has a great support system at home (and at school too I hope) that makes all the difference in the world!

  3. Kimmie

    2011-06-14 01:59:01 -0400

    Dear Ali,
    This post is tugging at my heart strings.

    Just this past week, I did the interview layout that Cathy Z. put out at Designer Digitals. (You did one of Simon in March, I think?) My 3rd grade son's response to the prompt "When I was little I used to" was "sit down at the school at recess and watch everyone else play." This made my heart break.

    In many many ways your Simon reminds me of my Matthew. My guy. Which is just one of the reasons I come back to your website time and time again.

  4. Mandyb

    2011-06-14 02:13:52 -0400

    Ali my heart breaks for you.... i work in a kindergarten in NZ (which is 3 and 4 year olds) and we teach our children to be ACCPEPTING of others who MAY appear different....not in a negative way..... someone with freckles, red hair, a funny laugh, needing extra help, speech support....we spend a lot of time talking about what they CANT do...and assuring them that they are LEARNING too...hoping that they will be MORE accepting of others who need some support....
    it breaks my heart daily as i can SEE their progress and see their strengths...
    but sadly some ADULTS let the side down. I hear comments all the time that are NASTY and YES i do pull them up!!!
    i have to bold and FIGHT for their rights!!!
    it is an upward battle sadly!!!
    and i wont give up!!!

    may we ALL teach our kids to be ACCEPTING...and supportive!!!

    i hope he finds his place at the school and copes WELL with differences and changes to his day...and enjoys trips for the fun they are....
    YAH for you being on the trip too

    KIA KAHA ali...which is Maori (NZ) for stay strong!!!!!!

  5. Denise KC

    2011-06-14 02:48:18 -0400

    I'm so glad that there were many things about that field trip that Simon loved. Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. Anna B

    2011-06-14 10:22:16 -0400

    Ali, my daughter is not anywhere 'on the spectrum' yet she is very much an individual, mostly happy with her own company. Only now, in her last year of high school, does she really 'get' what friends are for. The 3-4 years between the start of middle school and now, she had friends, but they irritated and disappointed her lots of the time. I have realized that it's the experience of life that has allowed her to feel comfortable with others finally, and she had to go there at her own pace, and her own time. As an earlier post said, she will find 'her own people',there are lots out there, as long as she is content leading a rich life in herself, then her good friends will love and value her too.

    You have a less common path, but it's good and valid. Simon will always be the beneficiary of your watchful support, and the rich life you open to him will be the life he leads.

    You are suffering at the moment, but Simon's daily happiness will restore you. We all worry about what our kids need - our job is partly to help them work out what they really need, so they can provide it themselves.

    From where I sit, I wish I was one of your kids! You are a good mum.

  7. Anne-Marie Cox

    2011-06-14 11:55:51 -0400

    oh yes, the gap... exactly the words I used to describe my son at this age... he is 19 now... and has one friend who still just gets him and continues to make the effort to visit and keep contact. I did find comfort in the fact that the kids that DID maintain friendships with my son were the ones worth bothering with... KirstenJ your daughter is obviously one of them.

  8. Debbie P

    2011-06-14 11:57:31 -0400

    Field trips are fun. Our school does not allow the parents to ride on the bus. The parents have to drive behind the bus. Don't know why really.

    All that matters is Simon is having fun and enjoying life! :)

  9. Pam

    2011-06-14 12:52:20 -0400

    thank you for sharing this. i have walked this same path with my 14 year old son. you said it more beautifully with a few words than i could have with hundreds.

  10. Jennifer S.

    2011-06-14 14:43:12 -0400

    I am amazed at the strength and support shown in these comments. My child is going into 5th grade and every comment has a little bit of him in there. We changed schools for him after 2nd grade. It is amazing the difference a new school will make. He is happy, growing and socially accepted, this new school makes my heart sing! I hope that you all hang on, and hope that you all have the support and find the right place for the kids. When you do, you will know!

  11. Claire

    2011-06-14 17:17:10 -0400

    It is hard to watch, I know. But he is so lucky to have such a wonderful family who will always be there at the end of the day. Sometimes this is all we can do. Just be there.

  12. Susan

    2011-06-14 22:07:03 -0400

    I can totally relate to your feelings. My son just finished first grade, high functioning autism...I have started to notice more and more things that break my heart. But, like you, I see how happy my child is and have started to realize that is really what matters. Thank you for sharing your family and perspective.

  13. Michele H.

    2011-06-14 22:14:21 -0400

    My heart aches as I read your words because I can so relate to your feelings. My daughter is in highschool(15yrs) and she sounds exactly like Simon. She is happy when there are school events that she can attend and is elated when we are they with her. I have to remind myself of this all the time even when it's so hard for me to watch.

    Simon is so very lucky to have you & Chris as parents! You truly are inspiring!

  14. Jane

    2011-06-14 23:47:00 -0400

    I am finding this hard to respond to right now, but I know how you feel and my son is almost 13 and I have to be the brave one and let him face the world. One of the hardest things was letting him go to his first school camp. Sometimes even just driving away from his school after drop off is hard for me, not so much him! Simon is wonderful and so are you all.

  15. Mary Beth

    2011-06-15 20:20:30 -0400

    It's so hard to watch and not try to "make it all better." My AS guy is 12 and finishing 6th grade. Sometimes it's the adults who have a hard time understanding, and lose patience when faced with a child who's not behaving the way the adult expects. And I'm talking about the ones with special needs training.

  16. Camille

    2011-06-15 22:06:44 -0400

    My boys are 24 qnd 26 and the hardest days of my life were the days that I realized that they were growing up. Whether that meant that they needed me less or needed me more (to answer questions and just be there) was no consolation to me. Had I my way they would have stayed 10 years old forever. Your few words were very touching and tugged a few tears from my eyes. I can only say we have been through many ups and downs but I truly treasure the young men my boys are today and each experience in life a little "lego", if you will, to build them into who they are today. And, yes, you are right, his happiness is all that matters. It's all we ever want for those we truly love.

  17. Sarah Wilkins

    2011-06-16 02:58:32 -0400

    So true Ali - I had this with Sam - he reached Year 2 here in the UK and I saw the gap widening - all his peers were growing away from him - and the gap was getting bigger - almost on a daily basis. But Ali I live in hope that one day maybe that gap will become smaller and they will all have some common ground. So glad you and Simon had a lovely day, and you shared your story with us

  18. Leora Henkin

    2011-06-16 16:46:27 -0400

    Oh, definitely, that is what matters. I have tears in my eyes as I read this. I, too, have a son who suffers from the "gap" that you describe. This year, we ended up switching schools as a result. It is sometimes difficult to observe him in social situations. I have to remind myself that if he is happy, that is what really matters. Love to both of you!

  19. Lori

    2011-06-16 21:32:05 -0400

    Thanks for putting into words how I feel when I'm with my 10 year old at school. My son wants friends so much, but just can't quite fit in. The gap is widening, and it's so hard to watch. Wishing and hoping for one school friend for him.

  20. Alexis Yael

    2011-06-16 21:58:29 -0400

    My son is 5 and on the spectrum. And happy is what matters (and my boy is so very very happy, always has been). But oh yeah, do I get that widening social gap. (And my family is just on the cusp of it getting bigger and bigger...) Yup. I get that intersection of stories, too. That's a vivid part of being a mom, for me.

  21. Erica Hettwer

    2011-06-17 00:52:26 -0400

    Gentle hugs. <3

  22. marisa

    2011-06-21 20:04:23 -0400

    Our son is 10 and going into the 5th grade and I am deathly scared. Damian isn't at all because it's just another school year and it's no big deal to him. He is in full inclusion with an aide and we are phasing her out this year. Well that is the plan. He has come far but socially and emotionally is not up to par with his peers. But he does not think he is different, thinks everyone is his friend. I know that's good but it hurts sometimes to see him follow the kids and they do not always respond.

    He would rather research topics of interest online or play tag. Not alot of 5ht graders like to do that. He is in a social skills group that has helped a little but as the years go on we see the gap as well.

    I have 4 other kiddos and he is great with them socially, still learning the "rules" but is good.

    I know how mixed emotions can come into play. I used to worry about field trips but he does okay because HE enjoyed it and loved telling us about it. Not that all into details of course but we get the point :)

    I don't know any other families with children like mine so it is comforting reading about your experiences and the obstacles, joys and dreams you see through your son.

    Thank you for that.

  23. Becky

    2011-06-25 17:42:12 -0400

    I'm commenting late and don't know if you go back to reread posts. Just wanted you to know that teachers also feel that knot in your throat, pain in your heart, and desire to make the world "correct" for those students walking to a different beat.
    I've been observing it for decades and it doesn't get any easier. But I can look for all kids strengths, teach the class friendship lessons, set limits on behaviors, but mostly enjoy the golden moments. Like the smile on a child's face as he swings alone every day on recess. There is something about swinging at that moment that creates that smile.

  24. End of the school year &#8230; &laquo; ~♥~ Faith&#039;s Updates ~♥~

    2011-06-28 22:38:07 -0400

    [...] Third Grade Field Trip ( [...]

  25. Valerie

    2011-07-03 21:34:00 -0400

    There's something so special about the Mother and Son bond... my nine year old (that thinks he's 15) still reaches for my hand to hold. Enjoy these moments, they go so fast.

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