Saturday, April 3, 2010

Outings with Aspies

This week was a busy week of family trips and activities. It is always an undertaking going out into public places, particularly when crowds are possible. Crowds cause my son to become overstimulated and shut down, or worse. Occasionally, we have to take that risk of crowds and meltdowns, and venture out. Last Sunday was one of those occasions. I took dd and ds#2 to a rock and mineral show. In two rooms, vendors with tables crammed full of fossils, semi-precious gemstones, and various colorful rocks left little room for aisles where the masses of humanity were to squeeze through. It was the perfect set-up for disaster. Thousands of small trays, thousands of choices to spend his ten dollars on, and throngs of people to navigate around. Details of what, where, when, how much, under flourescent lights and tight quarters. . . I took a big risk. But I knew my son would really enjoy seeing all of the crystals and geodes, dinosaur teeth, petrified trees and trilobites.

Turned out that he really did enjoy it. He didn't want to participate in the activities, like simulated panning or polishing a stone at the wheel thingey. But he displayed amazing patience when i asked him to see everything first before deciding what to purchase. That was asking a lot from a kid who can hardly hold it together. But he did. And he remembered exactly what he wanted, how much it cost, and how much change he'd have left over to buy something else. He ended up with a resin mold of an African T-Rex tooth, several fossil shark's teeth, and a nugget of pyrite.
All told, a very successful day.

This weekend, our town held its annual Easter egg hunt at its huge outdoor sport's complex. The weather was beautiful, with mid-seventies unheard of for upstate New York in early April. On one side of the vast acreage, a BMX bike track with motocross hills featured a pack of eager racers. On the other side of the complex--our destination--hundreds, maybe a thousand kids, competed for swings and slides and monkey bars, waiting for their turn to hunt for candy-filled plastic eggs. My son's body went rigid, and he began to grunt under his breath.

I would have guessed that the wide-open spaces of the great outdoors would have been easier on him than a packed room full of minutia, but here he was, proving me wrong with every growl. I diverted him by sending him and his sister back to the car to fetch their jackets while I stood in line to register. Worked like a charm. I was done before they returned, just in time to see if he wanted his face painted. He didn't, but his sister did. his growls turned to guttural yells and one terrific outburst that turned heads. Okay, no hotdogs, either. Maybe a breather at one of the far bleachers where no one could hear him scream while he decompressed. We crossed the field and took a time out.

By and by, he came around. And just in time. They called his grade, and opened the gate to where the pastel colored treasures waited. Though the wait seemed interminably long, he waited like a soldier, and when they hollered go, he was ready.

Two very different events, but in the end, a bag full of goodies, and success. Outings with Aspies just have to be handled with flexibility, an escape route, and perseverance.


  1. LOL! Maybe brave, but no one's ever accused me of brilliant. We had a wonderful time. Today, I took the kids to a local park where they have rides and go-carts. It was son and daughter's first attempts at operating a moving vehicle and they did great. They were little Helen Wheels. LOL

  2. Self deprecation does not change facts, love.