This morning, just as the kids arrived to school, one of the Life Skills kids rocked back in the recliner and hit the fire alarm cover. That didn't set off the alarm, but when the teacher tried to put everything right, it did go off.... sending the entire school out on the field in freezing February weather!
That included us - we were in the cafeteria and hadn't yet fed our boys their breakfast. We heard on the security radio that the alarm was tripped by someone in our classroom, but we had to go out anyway. We carried the boys' gear out and fed them along the way. Bob was howling and unsteady on his feet from his medications; Stevie was cooperative for a change.
We met up with the teacher and a substitute shepherding the kids to their assigned area. Actually, two of our aides were out today and another one wasn't scheduled to arrive until second hour. Thankfully, Mikey hadn't arrived yet and Smiley didn't make it in at all. Getting his wheelchair out on the field might have made things awfully difficult for the teacher with the other eight kids in tow.
Mikey is autistic. Sounds - ordinary noises like the dishwasher, microwave beeps, ringing phones or static on the intercom - throw him for a loop. He bangs his head and screams because it hurts his sensitive ears. So, imagine what an unexpected fire alarm would do to him. We were justifiably worried when his care provider pulled up in the drop-off area. Luckily they waited in the car until it was over.
We returned to class to find two firemen and a security guard inside the room resetting the alarm. In order to do that, they made all kinds of racket including setting off the alarm again. And Mikey? He was calmly scanning the Sunday ads I had brought - apparently a favorite distraction for him... Miracles never cease! (Was it a coincidence that I had thought to pray for him that morning? "Please bless Mikey to be calm and help Bob and Stevie to have a good day." You just never know what to expect when you work in Life Skills. But, God knows and cares for his children - each and every one!)
In the meantime, I'm going to have words with those other aides... sick days shouldn't be allowed if the fire alarm is going to be tripped.