Wednesday 6 January 2016

Caution at the aquarium

Child with autism in aquarium

It sounds strange but sometimes we have to go kiddie attractions without some of the kids. We go on a recce to see what's there. It's a way of surveying the place and seeing if it's something our kids are going to like or worse yet like too much.

Jane gets sad if she's made to leave something she likes. We'll get a sticky out bottom lip, that she does really well by the way. Anthony will simply scream and dance with excitement. David's the worst though when it comes to liking things too much.  He'll sign 'no' when it's time to leave and run off. He'll usually get over it as we give him notice that it will be time to leave but it's not that that's the 'challenging' part so much.

Let's take for example last weekend. David did not join the rest of us in our trip to the sea life centre. He was going to the local playground with his grandparents while my hubby, the kids and I went to the sea life centre at Chessington. It was full of beautiful creatures and features. Jane loved the Nemo / Dory combination tank and the walk in bubble. Anthony liked the shark tunnel and big fish. The sea lions are always popular.

David might not have seen these. Looking through glass or at things in a crowd seem to either not have enough or be too overwhelming on his sensory scale.  He'd be more interested in his iPad while the other kids were excited.  David's interest and our hazard would have been the big open Ray pool and deck. I'd bet money that he would have stripped naked and jumped in the pool. 

Funny? Try restraining a five year old hypermobile (that's super flexible to some of you) autistic boy who has it is in his head that he's supposed to be playing in the water! I love his freedom of thought. The way he sees water here as no different from the beach. The way he's not deterred by the fact no one else is going in. 

I looked about to see if there was a way to avoid the Ray pool on our next visit, but there wasn't. For David,  we'll wait just a little while until he can maybe either appreciate the tank fish or is  just a bit happier following our instructions. It's a fine line between a good day out and a wet one sometimes. But we will keep looking for activities David and the rest of the pack will love 'just the right amount'. And in the meantime we had fun at the sea life centre and David had fun at the playground. 


Our blog - A ray of sunshine: autism in the playground 
Our blog - Racing clouds, David's delight 

External links 

National Autistic Society - Sensory information  

As listed on:

Life Unexpected


  1. That's interesting to read how you deal with different attractions. We don't go as far as visiting places in advance, but I do have to consider how my eldest will cope with different things, I suspect he has some sort of sensory processing disorder, but we just kind of take it one step at a time. As we have two kids one of us might stay with little A while the other takes O out of the area or somewhere else, or stays in one place if he's interested in doing the same thing over and over. And with the bottom lip sticking out grumpy look, Mr A would give anyone a run for there money in that look, but it's actually quite adorable at his age, I need to take a photo sometime so I don't forget how cute his toddler face is, even when grumpy!
    Thanks so much for linking up to #Whatevertheweather :) x

  2. It's interesting to hear that you have to suss places out first. It makes complete sense though. My partner is on the spectrum and when we go to places they can't be too overcrowded and when we make a plan we must stick to it. Hopefully you can take David again when he's older. It sounds like you all had a great time at the aquarium. There is so much to see and I always find them really calming, just staring at the fish slowly swimming about the water. Thank you so much for linking your adventures to #whatevertheweather. xx

  3. I think it is a very good idea that you have tried something out to see if it is the right place for everyone. My somewhat other half is like that too - he would not go anywhere that is overcrowded, noisy - actually any kind of socialising at all. But then I have to search for places where we can go together. I hope you can find something David can enjoy together. Thank you for sharing. x #whatevertheweather



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