I'll never forget the moment my son had his first panic attack. Donato was almost 3-years old. We were visiting Sesame Place. He was having a blast going on rides. My husband and I were so happy to see him happy. We waited in line for the popular Elmo show so we could get good seats.
As soon as the lights dimmed, Donato started to get uneasy in my lap. The music started, the characters came out on stage...and my son grabbed my arm. I held him close and said something like, "Wow...look! It's Elmo and Big Bird!" I was smiling and clapping...trying to get him into it. It wasn't working.
Then...Elmo started to walk up to kids in audience. He came close to us. Game over. Donato full on freaked out. It was the tipping point. He clawed at me so bad, my face started bleeding. We got up and left. We had been in there a total of five-minutes and Donato was traumatized.
I didn't realize that would be the beginning of his fear of any "loud" events. Over the past year-and-a-half, we tried taking him to children's musical theater. Nope. We would leave as soon as the show started. We tried taking him to "sensory" friendly events. Still no. He didn't trust ANY venue.
I knew Donato would eventually outgrow his fear of "noise"....but I wasn't sure WHEN. Well, a couple of weeks ago, he mentioned wanting to go to MONSTER JAM. Like many 4-year olds, he is obsessed with monster trucks. I told him it would be VERY LOUD. He said he'd just wear his "ear protection" (these are headphones we've tried using before...but he refused to wear them in past).
My husband and I agreed to give it a try. This was an event Donato asked us to take him to. All the other attempts to desensitize him were our suggestions. So, we took him to MONSTER JAM yesterday. We had been prepping him all week with YouTube videos of the event. We repeatedly told him how loud it would be.
I would have been thrilled if we lasted 20-minutes...but I was shocked that he stayed THE WHOLE TIME! This is a big deal. He is slowly overcoming one of his biggest fears and I'm proud/thrilled. He couldn't stop talking about the event on the way home.
Here is a photo and quick video from the event...