Connor ran away from school yesterday.
Yep, he ran away and made it almost to the garage door before a couple of the teachers caught up to him in a car. Other teachers had fanned out over the various routes he might have taken to get home.
It's TAKS testing prep time at the schools around here...courtesy of Bush's "No Child Left Behind" policy. As if these dreaded standardized tests, beginning in the 3rd grade, and, basically "taught to" the entire year, are true measures of a child's knowledge. Anyway, the pressure is really on, and every kid is a little bundle of anticipatory anxiety.
Connor, who has, for the most part, been in a really sweet spot as far as stability goes for the past year, has been getting rocky on the school front. Getting frustrated, upset and having meltdowns has been a stable the past week or so. Yesterday it all came to a head.
He had a meltdown and went to the "think tank" to calm down. When the teacher in his contained classroom turned her back to address another student, Connor slipped out of the room, headed out the door, across the playground and headed for home.
I'm not really sure how everything transpired at that point. I was teaching at a school several blocks from home. Connor's school, as policy dictates, called Trish, called the police and various staff were dispatched to look for him in, around the school and beyond.
All Trish knew when they called her at work was that he was missing. She panicked, headed home trying desperately to think of the name of the school where I was subbing. By the time she remembered the situation was resolved. I got the call well after the fact.
She arrived home to Connor, 4 policemen and a bevy of school staff members. It was sheer chaos. Connor was made to go back to school to finish out the day. His teacher was still shaken when I talked to her some hours later after I got home.
Needless to say, when Trish called me at school I nearly buckled at the knees thinking about all the "what ifs"!! With Connor's HFA tendencies in addition to his other issues, he isn't attentive to basics like crossing the street properly or not wandering off in stores, etc. I had no clue he could even find his way home. I was wrong.
None of us had any inkling that Connor would ever even think of doing something this drastic and frightening! It took everyone, school staff included, by surprise. Even his physician was surprised when I talked to him later in the day. Unfortunately for all concerned Connor has enough PDD issues to be more concerned about how all this affected him and his privileges than the seriousness of the incident. He has been told that if he ever pulls another unsafe stunt like this he will lose the privileges that mean the most to him: His video games.
He had some silly idea in his head that he was going to just stay home, play video games and wait for me to get home from school. He wasn't planning on going back. He said he hated everyone there and was not going back to school...ever. He did.
We have to think about ways to reinforce the dangers of this kind of action with him. I seriously doubt it will ever be an issue at his elementary school again this year. However, we all worry about him pulling this kind of stunt in middle school next year.
I think we've been lulled a bit into slacking off our guard with Connor due to this sweet period of stability he's been in for awhile. It followed a really rocky period with the hospitalization where the possible molestation issue arose. This, my friends, came out of the blue!
I must say that I still won't go to the "what ifs" in my head. I don't want to think about the things that could have happened to him on the way home. It scares me that he just took off, no thinking about consequences. This is new and it's scary. He has the judgement of a child much younger. He's too trusting and too unaware of things around him. He's vulnerable in so many ways.
We all survived the great escape. The adults will be more vigilant and there will be more emphasis on the consequences of such actions.
While we will be on our toes with Connor, we are also dealing with the increasing anxiety in Sam that has spilled over into the classroom and every other area of his life. In the last few months his issues have risen to the top of the heap and things are boiling over...
It's like we're in the eye of the storm. We've moved out of Connor's turbulence, taken a couple of breaths, and now we're headed into the building Sam Storm. What's the name of my blog again? Oh, yeah..."Thriving in the Chaos".... I need to concentrate on the "thriving" part....