Autism, Family

School Disco

Just before the end of half term, Sawyer announced that he wanted to go to his Halloween-themed school disco. His Dad and I looked up at each other in disbelief, shock, and a little bit of fear.

Sawyer has never been able to cope with the sensory overload of a disco. Between the flashing lights, loud music, sweaty room and ocean of people,  he has never been able to tolerate it for longer than a few minutes. That said, we’ve never denied him the opportunity to try if it was something he showed a keen interest in doing, because friendships (or even the simple urge to see his classmates) is something that should always, and will always be encouraged. After all, we don’t know how much these fleeting glimpses of parties and discos will remain in his memory as he grows older, or how important they are to him right now. What if in his mind, lasting a few minutes is as important as lasting the entire hour? What if to him, those few minutes are an accomplishment that he simply cannot vocalise – or even understand? I don’t have an answer. All I knew was that in that moment he wanted to go to the disco and see his friends.

And to dress as an Egyptian Mummy.

An hour later, ear defenders on, and covered top to toe in toilet paper, Sawyer tentatively walked in to the hall, with me by his side. His classmates greeted him with happy excitement of 7 and 8 year olds, and his own face lit up as he inspected their funny costumes. His friends continued to bounce around alongside us whilst we navigated one full lap of the school hall.  As we reached the end of our lap, Sawyer, still clinging to me for security, clapped his hands over his ear defenders and told me that he would like to go home.

Outside, he breathed in the cold air with relief, thrilled as it misted up around his face when he breathed it back out. Grinning, he pushed his right ear defender to one side.

“Mummy, we can still hear the music!” he squealed as he hopped from one leg to the other.

And so for the twenty minutes that followed, outside in the darkness, away from the flashing lights, loud music and excited children, we danced.

We just danced.


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Sense and Sensory Ability
Top 5 Tips on dealing with Sensory Processing Disorder

4 thoughts on “School Disco”

  1. Bless you both. I know how we felt the first time N wanted to go to the school disco. He doesn’t use ear defenders because they make his head/ears very hot which just adds to the anxiety so he has always used cotton wool stuffed in his ears. We stayed in the room next to the disco for about 20 minutes and then walked slowly home. Some of his friends had come to see him and that was ok. As he has got older he has been more able to cope. He went to his last primary school disco in July and actually danced in the hall with the disco, without the cotton wool. So happy for Sawyer. Little steps but incredibly important ones xx

    1. Thank you, Di. And thanks as always for reading. It’s lovely to think that my posts resonate with you, and even greater to think that Sawyer may learn to cope with these things in the future. Hope you and N are well xxx

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