Autism, Family

Disco Dad

Friday was school disco day, and to our alarm surprise, Sawyer said that he wanted to go.

After some gentle reminders about what the disco would entail, Sawyer dug out his Woody costume, kissed me on the cheek, and bounced out of the house with his dad in tow. However by the time they arrived at the school a few minutes later, Sawyer’s excitement had already turned to anxiety, and he decided he didn’t want to go inside.

Sawyer can be difficult to handle when he faces situations like these because his anxieties cause a very physical response, usually in the form of spinning uncontrollably. Suddenly he is unable to listen to instruction, and he certainly can’t negotiate reason. But after some time dancing/watching Sawyer spin around in the car park, Lloyd said something that did manage to reach him. He offered to take him home and create their own disco.

A few minutes later, Lloyd and Sawyer were dancing in the kitchen with glow-sticks, and although it only lasted 1 song, it was long enough for Sawyer to feel like he had taken part, and that disco day was ready to end. Massive well done to Sawyer of course, but I’m actually throwing this one to Lloyd.

By understanding Sawyer didn’t want to go inside the disco he allowed him to make his own choices based on his own feelings.

By dancing with him in the car park he let him know – without saying a word – that his feelings were valid, and understood.

And by offering up a safe space alternative, he empowered Sawyer to walk away feeling excited again, instead of disappointed.


Well done, Lloyd. You really rocked this one.


Related content:
Small Mercies
School Disco
Denial: The Husband Diaries
Blame: The Husband Diaries



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