Going out with kids can be tricky enough as it is, but for those of us whose kids have autism or similar special needs it can be even more daunting. If you’re new to caring for or socializing with a child with developmental challenges, or you’d just like to be more considerate of those with special needs around you, here are a few considerations that can help a day out run smoothly.
Avoiding overly busy locations is pretty obvious but also watch out for indoor attractions that echo, it exasperates the noise and makes it seem much more crowded than it is. This doesn’t mean you can’t go as many play centres, children’s museums, pottery studios and similar offer special sessions dedicated to allowing kids with special needs and their families extra space, extra quiet and extra support.
Queues can be a problem, partially because of excitement and partially because of the strangers standing so closely. A great many facilities will accommodate you if contacted in advance regarding this and can arrange to have you sidelined for your tickets on entry. Don’t be shy about asking, but don’t be offended if they ask for proof of disability as unscrupulous types do sometimes take advantage of such kindnesses.
Where rides and games are involved it’s indubitably best to aim for attractions whose entrance fee permits unlimited access, so if they have a favorite and want to do it again 20 times? No problem! Bit of an issue if it’s $5 a go though.
Outdoor play opportunities are often the most successful, tending to involve plenty of space and several choices of equipment covering a wide age range, which means wherever your child is comfortable developmentally there are several challenges suitable. Splash parks and water parks are as popular as they are with all children, but it’s even more important to maintain correct supervision ratios incase of upset so you’re free to rescue them to somewhere calmer.
If the child in question is a new friend of yours, speak to their parents discreetly about how they would prefer things explained to your child and for advance warnings on things that particularly upset them. We all like our children to feel accepted and understood.
Author: Ashly Pugh writes for FamilyDaysOut.com which offers Things to do in New York and the rest of the US, Canada and Australia.
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