Blogging about life in Minnesota, raising our six kids with Down syndrome while battling Breast Cancer.

Be the kind of woman that when your feet hit the floor in the morning the devil says, "Oh shit! She's up!"

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Run for the Hills!

Apparently life at school is too boring for Angela! She's become very skilled at spicing things up a bit.

Yesterday she had an AWESOME day at school. Her very last class is adaptive phy. ed. and since it's absolutely beautiful here right now, they went outside to play kickball.

But as with all things, the eventually the fun has to end. Angela wasn't thrilled that kickball was over for the day, so she did what any kid would do when they're not ready to be done...she took off!

Near the ball fields of her school is a series of bike trails. If you follow the right one it'll bring you to an elementary school about 1/2 mile away. So Angela took off up the trail (which is all uphill) with her classroom aid trying desperately to keep up! Her phy. ed. teacher got the other kids back to their classrooms and then he headed up the trail as well. In the meantime, school called me since A) Angela had now missed the bus to come home and B) they couldn't get her to come back. She'd found her way to the ball fields for that school, plopped herself down on a bench, and there she stayed. She wasn't budging!

So I showed up, and her Special Ed. teacher and I walked the same route Angela took. Never again will she be able to tell me she's "too tired" to walk a couple of blocks up our street! Not only that, but where she went is ALL uphill!

Anyway, they brought me to where she was sitting. Here's where the tricky part comes in. When dealing with a kid like Angela, how and what you say is critically important to A) getting her to move and b) not getting swung at. Better to wait and discuss the issue later when you're in a different environment (and not almost a mile away from your car!) I walked up to her, took her hand and in a calm, low tone said, "Let's go." She took my hand and willingly walked with me. I glanced at the school staff (yeah, including me there were now FOUR adults there with this one kid!) were looking at me like, "No way!" because she came with me so willingly, yet was swinging at them.

Angela's aid that day, the original one to go chasing after her, has miffed. The teacher has tried explaining that she can't take it personally. That it doesn't matter WHO you are, sometimes she just DOES STUFF! Also, that Dean and I get plenty of it at home as well. Also, this isn't new for Angela. Her last 2 years in elementary school she wasn't allowed outside recess because she was running away. (and got quite far a couple of times, with school staff on her heels! Finally she was caught by the school principal who had to head her off at the pass in his car! LOL) I laugh, because it's all I can do. I can just imagine the wheels in Angela's head turning, and the glint in her eye as she sees the opportunity to bolt. And of course, there is the thrill of the chase!
I do have to say though, whoever works with Angela needs to be IN SHAPE! You just don't know when you're going to have a game of chase going on.

You might think, "Well, what if they don't chase her? It's not fun if nobody is chasing." Which, with any other kid is probably true. But we've tried it with Angela, and it doesn't work. She just keeps going until she's too tired to run anymore (and we've found a 3/4 of a mile is about her limit! LOL) She also doesn't care about busy streets, and is very vulnerable in a crowd of strangers. She UNDERSTANDS about busy streets, but she uses them as a threat, "I'll run into that street!" and we just don't know that she won't!

She is such a smart kid! I often wonder where she'd be if she didn't have all this behavioral stuff going on. She's so very capable, but the behaviors really hold her back. Unfortunately there isn't much we can do for them (and we've TRIED, with many professionals involved, for YEARS!)

So, we look at the good things. She had a GREAT day at school yesterday. She just didn't want Kickball to end.

Today is swimming. I've had a horrible time getting her to go lately, but we've now come up with a new angle, and she's very excited about it! She should be back to swimming her laps several days a week now!


Lund7 said...

Wow! She can sure cover some ground when she sets her mind to it!

Was that Mr. H. that cut her off in his car to catch her? I can picture him doing that!

We are skipping swimming today...any idea when it is Thursday? Wednesdays are a crazy day to try to get there too. Hopefully we will run into you guys there one of these days!

Tamara said...

Oh, Angela. She and Shawen would have such a good time together! He isn't a runner, though. He would have just sat on the playground and refused to come in. Glad she was safe.

datri said...

I can tell you've been doing this for a while! My husband would be completely freaked out if Kayla ran away at school!