Monday, 22 February 2016

Funday parenting for our autistic son

Finding things to do with autistic children can sometimes be difficult. When our second son was diagnosed with autism we already knew taking him places was difficult. However, David has come along way and I've written before about the fun we've had on the inset days when his brother has been at school. Now it was Anthony's turn. He is a little older and he and we have learned lots of strategies that enable him to do more things. This morning both his younger sister and brother were in school and nursery and as we got in the car to spend the day with him, Anthony declared "Today is my Funday."

Just because both our boys have autism it doesn't mean that they don't like doing things. Inset days are great because places aren't as busy at the weekend and this takes away one of the key issues we have with all the kids. It takes away the worries about communication, the worries about sharing and the worries about being over stimulated by other kids.

We tackled the playgym with great success with David's last inset day when Anthony was at school.  So what did we do and how did we manage on Anthony's self declared Funday?

1. Taking our autistic son to an arcade

The arcade is an attack on your senses. Sounds can be overwhelming for a child with autism but it's important to remember that kids can be sensory seekers too and can really enjoy this stimulation. This means they can crave sensory input. But even with this and hardly anyone there, Anthony can quickly go from a seeker to suddenly having an overload. So how do we help him? One of our best tips, put him in charge of what he wants to do. We suggest activities that match his mood but he is in control and this gets rid of expectation and anxiety. Next, don't be worried about how long or how little time we spend there. When he is done, we are done, and he's managed to enjoy himself,

2. Going out for lunch

This is a rarity in our household. With David often on the iPad and Anthony's ADHD kicking in at the worst times, sitting for a meal isn't too often on our 'fun' agenda.  However, Anthony's favourite food is pizza. So if it's just us in a near empty restaurant with a pizza and no worries about him shouting out, wriggling or how long it takes to eat, then it can be a successful activity.  We just need to prepare him with our usual discussion about being able to have food like pizza at lunchtime and it being ok not to have sandwiches, but this does and did go down fine today.

3. Lastly the Cinema

An empty cinema can seem like a great place for someone with autism. Without many people there is the freedom to move around and talk and ask questions if you are having difficulty with the story. True there aren't bright lights but sound can be very loud in the cinema so it's worth not sitting too close to the front, especially if like Anthony you've already had a sensory activity for the day. Anthony's getting better at following the plot abit more, and going on an inset day makes the whole experiment much easier.

And that made up Anthony's 'Funday'. Might not sound like much but I can assure you this is not only a fairly rare experience for us, but by the end of the day Anthony was pretty much exhausted.  Thank goodness there's a while before he has another inset day without his siblings again!

Links
Our blog - Inset with David




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Diary of an imperfect mum



8 comments:

  1. Wow, you did well, packed a lot in! I'm a wimp, I tend to go for one activity only in a day...!

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    Replies
    1. Us too usually. It's a cheat really, all venues were in one of those 'leisure' parks, a bunch of places around a car park. Honestly the area was deserted and that's why it worked. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. What a lovely way to spend the day and glad that Anthony enjoyed it even if he was exhausted by the end of it. I love the description of an inset day being a 'funday' Thank you for linking up to #ftmob :-)

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  3. I love how he called it his Funday that just shows how special he finds his day with you. Such a lovely post and lots of helpful tips for us special needs parents. TY for linking up with #FamilyFun 🌸

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  4. A great post.

    Some great tips. We find with our Autistic son it's best to have a plan b, just in case when we get there it's all too much and he doesn't want to go.

    Thanks for sharing

    #ftmob

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  5. A great post.

    Some great tips. We find with our Autistic son it's best to have a plan b, just in case when we get there it's all too much and he doesn't want to go.

    Thanks for sharing

    #ftmob

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, plan b if one is possible is a great idea. Though can be a bit tricky to prepare the boys for a plan b sometimes and we can end up prepping on the go! Thanks for stopping by, come back soon.

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  6. Just to let you know your twitter social sharing doesn't work. Thought you would want to know. I was going to share your post. Thanks for linking up to #TheList x x

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