Most every family enjoys a day at an amusement park, but for those with an autistic child, a day of crowds, loud noises, and twisty-turny rides can prove overwhelming. That doesn't mean your family can't participate in this phenomenal summer ritual, though. When planned in advance and with extra thought to your child's individual needs, it can, indeed, be a great day for all.
1. Avoid The Crowded Entrance
Because you have an autistic child, you should be permitted to use special entrances (and exits) designed for handicapped people, emergency service personnel, and even amusement park staff. Call in advance to find out what your options are, and ask if you'll need a special pass or other ID.
2. Map Out Your Itinerary For Amusement Rides And Activities
Most amusement parks set up a website long before they open, indicating where everything is and the schedule of events. Check this out, marking off the rides, attractions, and other booths your family will want to visit. Plan a route, avoiding certain areas, if needed, such as those where large crowds are likely to be, places that are particularly noisy, or any space that may cause your child to feel uncomfortable.
3. Bring Healthy Snacks And Limit The Fair Food
If sugary foods tend to activate your kids' launch buttons, as is the case with most children, be sure to bring your own pre-approved snacks to munch on, and avoid over-loading anyone on the delectable but dangerous delights the fair is famous for. Despite mouths watering over fried dough and cotton candy, if such items are likely to trigger mood swings, opt for the goodies you bring from home.
4. Have Supportive Friends And Family Tag Along
Unless your autistic child is okay with the one-on-one supervision and reassurances you alone provide, bring along other family members or close friends your child trusts and will listen to. As fun as fairs are, sometimes they can get pretty wild, and you can't predict what's going to happen and how it will affect your child.
5. Implement Stress Breaks Throughout The Day
Even if nobody feels tired or stressed, take breaks to avoid a build-up of stress. You could make repeated stops at the cow post, for example, and hang out with the timid and kind grass-grazers. Other animal attractions might also be relaxing and soothing for your crew, or, if you can exit and re-enter the park without paying twice, it might help to unwind at your vehicle for a few moments. No matter where your stress break is planned, it's important that you have at least one.
6. Have An Emergency Exit Strategy
Have a backup plan, just in case the fair can't be fully enjoyed for whatever reason. Make sure you don't just return home in haste, because ending the fun and excitement abruptly could be an overwhelming event in and of itself. Stop at a friendly pet store, for a frozen yogurt, or to enjoy the scenery at a preferred place.
Amusement parks are a family favorite all around the world, and for many children with autism, there's no reason they can't participate, provided special consideration is given to their individual tendencies, triggers, and other personal challenges. Make it a family affair, plan the day in detail, and be prepared for those small and not-so-small ways autism affects your family.
My name is Natalie Potter and I hope you enjoy my website. I would like to tell you a little about myself. I have spent the past couple of years traveling the world. There are so many wonderful people who have allowed me to stay with them, who have shown splendid hospitality and who have shown me how to enjoy the sights and sounds of their homelands. Now that I will be spending time at home, I have decided to return the favor by reaching out to my international friends. This has offered me the opportunity to improve my hospitality and my ability to entertain guests. Therefore, I have decided to create a blog focused on entertainment and hospitality.