Princess: Mom! Mom? MAAAAHHHHHHMMMMMMMM!!!! WHY AREN'T YOUANSWERING ME, MOM?!
Me: Shhh! *whispering fiercely* What is the matter, Princess?! Why are you yelling?!
P: *sounds of something plastic having the life beat out of it* My alarm clock. ISN'T! WORRR-KINNNNG!!! IT STILL HASN'T RUNG! *hysterical sobbing*
Me: Honey, it's only 5:00 a.m. It's not supposed to ring for another hour. Nothing is broken.
P: Oh... Are you sure?! If we are late to school, they will leave me behind AND I WON'T GET TO GO ON THE FIELD TRIP!! *sobbing again*
Of course. The "Field Trip Freak Out" is happening. Again. I was hoping we were going to avoid the field trip anxiety this year.
Me: Shhhh! You will get there on time-- I promise. Please try to go back to sleep.
Field trips are a living nightmare for lots of spectrum-y kids, my Princess included. Where most kids are bursting at the seams with excitement about what adventures a field trip day may have in store, the spectrum-y kid is tallying up all the ways that the day could go horribly wrong. A field trip is a day chock-full of the unknown, and for kids with autism, that's worse than punishment. On field trip day, the regular school activities, the surroundings, the seating arrangement, the bus ride, the lunch schedule, the grown-up in charge, the bag in which lunch is carried-- all these things are mostly likely different. Ummmm-- can you say "not good"?! For a kid that poops at the same time and place every day, a kid who can't find her milk glass at the dinner table if you set it in a different spot by her plate, a kid who gets angry if she outgrows clothes without being warned that the outgrowing might happen soon-- for that kid, this many changes in one day is enough to induce a full-blown panic attack!