Today we went to the local fire station for a summer “field trip”. I had begun a dialogue with Fire Safety Education Officer, Mr. Marcus Hodges shortly after arriving in Texas. We were able to set up a tour of our local fire station this morning and it was an absolutely amazing experience for the kids and for me.
Ryan and I had done an RPM lesson on firefighters months ago. Last Halloween, he actually picked out a firefighter costume. At that point, he was not yet communicating openly with us, so we had given him written choices while we were at Party City. We were able to narrow it down and he picked a Firefighter. This was the first glimpse of an interest of Ryan’s that we were not aware of.
Fast forward to this week where we sat down to come up with questions (and a statement) for our tour. Here is what Ryan came up with:
- BEING A FIREFIGHTER SEEMS FUN, IS THAT TRUE?
- YES TO KNOWING WHAT A TYPICAL DAY LOOKS LIKE?
- YES TO MAKING A DIFFERENCE APPLICABLE TO MANY PEOPLE’S LIVES. Is that a statement? YES TO A STATEMENT.
So we arrived this morning and we were immediately greeted by Mr. Hodges. It was very evident as soon as we met him why he was in the position that he was in. He was great with the kids, explained everything to them and engaged them with questions along the way. Ryan seemed nervous in the beginning. He began to try and run off and I caught him before he could do it. I explained to him and to Mr. Hodges that it was okay for him to be nervous as this is new to him and that I know that he was excited about it. We continued on and Ryan was great. He seemed to be listening and had very little stims (self-stimulatory behaviors) compared to his norm. We checked out four trucks and one car. Mr. Hodges explained all of the different equipment that went along with the trucks, what it was for, and how it was used. As I stated before, he engaged the kids with questions too. I am pretty sure that he had done this a few times (wink wink).
We then went inside and toured the station. We met three other firefighters while we were there and we saw where the firefighters slept, hung out, and dined. We also saw some of the offices and the workout room.
I had joked that there was so much good information that there should be a quiz at the end. Well, as we were finishing up, Grace piped up with, “So can I have the quiz now?” and on the spot, Mr. Hodges came up with 3 quiz questions for her!
After we got home, Ryan and I sat down to discuss the morning:
Ryan: QUESTION FOR YOU.
Me: Sure. Go ahead (as I am bursting with excitement on the inside of what could he possibly ask??)
Ryan: MAYBE CAN WE DO ANOTHER LESSON ON LIBRARIES AND HOW THEY WORK?
Me: Of course! So I guess that our next field trip will be a behind the scenes tour of the library? (He is already planning the next one!)
Ryan: YES TO A BEHIND THE SCENES TOUR OF THE LIBRARY.
Me: I want to know what you thought of our trip to the fire station this morning.
Ryan: MR. HODGES WAS SUPER NICE AND HAD SO MUCH KNOWLEDGE ABOUT THE FIRE STATION. HE IS GREAT FOR KIDS LIKE ME BECAUSE HE IS SO PATIENT. HAVE TO TELL YOU SOMETHING.
Me: Sure (again bursting at the seams to know what is going on in his head!)
Ryan: I MAY WANT TO BE A FIREFIGHTER WHEN I GROW UP.
Me: That sounds like a great idea. I am so happy that you are interested in doing that. We will need to continue to work on your body control, but I think that you can definitely do it! Anything else about today?
Ryan: SO THANK YOU FOR SETTING IT UP.
Me: (As I am doing my best to fight back tears that are welling up in my eyes and I am not succeeding with it) You know that I would do anything for you. I am so happy that you enjoyed it. Hey, do you remember that Mr. Hodges mentioned that families can rent out the community room for birthday parties at the fire station? Your birthday is coming up in just over a month. Are you interested in doing that?
Ryan: YES THAT WOULD BE COOL.
Grace, Officer Hodges, and Ryan
Thank you to the North Richland Hills Fire Station #1 for making us feel so welcomed today!