The rain was pounding, and his bus never showed. Driving to school he started melting down.
His clothes were uncomfortable. his feet were wet. His throat hurt. He was too tired. It was going to take too long to get to school. He was going to be late, so he shouldn't go at all. He was about to throw up.
I managed to get him in the door and he was whisked away to class. I went back out in the rain, hoping that things would turn for the better.
And I waited.
When his bus didn't arrive home on time, I waited. And paced. When it finally got to our house 35 minutes late, I asked if it had left school late. No? I tried not to sound surprised, like I thought an hour and a half was a normal length of time for a bus ride home.
I let him play on my iPad, trying to make sure he was relaxed before starting his work. Homework is always a struggle for us, and causes meltdowns daily. We've learned to handle it by taking a lot of sensory breaks for him to run laps and re-organize.
I took a look at the homework sheet -- it was a list of 10 basic questions to let his new teacher get to know him better. phew. We would ease our way into the year.
Little did I realize the firestorm that was brewing inside him. At the 1st question, he began to tear up. By the third question, he was screaming and crying uncontrollably. He screamed "I QUIT" repeatedly at the top of his lungs and took swings at the air, trying desperately to take his frustration out on something. On anything.
I'm used to the tears, but the anger and outbursts are new this summer. We took a break and talked about the questions, about how he could answer them. I agreed to help him with ideas and spelling, if he would pick an answer from the ideas and choose the words himself.
We made it through a few questions at a time, each one adding more fuel to his internal fire. By the time we got to the 10th question, we were both a complete mess, although I was trying my best not to show it.
The 10th question is the only one he answered on his own.