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Going to the Fair? September 28, 2008

Posted by hopeauthority in Autism, Children, Family, Parenting, special needs.
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Another one of the annoying things about autism…deciding whether or not to take the child with autism to an event…

It seems we struggle with this so often, and I wonder if we are alone or not. Is it so easy to decide this? Is it not even a decision at all to most people? I feel like everyone else either leaves the child with a sitter all the time or takes the child with the rest of the family all the time. No in-between. No agonizing decisions each time.

We try to assess each situation and then decide, mostly taking just the needs of our typical 10 year old daughter and our autistic 6 year old son into consideration. If its an event geared for him, we tend to go. If its geared for our daughter, then it gets difficult.

On the one hand, we want to include him in everything and have every opportunity to socialize and have a “normal” life. And the guilt when we leave him behind, or when we split the family in half, is unbearable. On the other hand, there are times when our daughter has an important event, recital, concert, etc. and we don’t want our son to…I know this sounds awful…ruin it for her.

He doesn’t sit quietly for long at all. Sometimes it wouldn’t be fair to either of them to try to attend together. He’d be stressed and miserable. She’d be nervous that he’d act up and that’d make her miserable too. He also doesn’t do well in large crowds or with loud music.  We can’t bribe him with food, since his diet doesn’t leave many options in that regard. So he misses the 4 hour dance recital, and the 2 hour Christmas concert in church. And it kills us.

As I type this, we are agonizing over whether to take him to the big…BIG…fair in Connecticut today. The weather is wet (first problem), the ride is 3 hours each way, there’s school tomorrow and we wouldn’t get home til 11 pm (because we can’t leave til 8pm when exhibits can be removed at the fair’s end). The crowd will be huge, the ground muddy. He hates to hold your hand and won’t even let you put the stoller in the car, much less ride in it. A wagon is hard to maneuver in the muddy, crowded hills.

This fair is a family tradition. I started competing almost 20 years ago. My daughter started competing in the Youth dept 6 years ago.

Sounds like just she and I should go and leave the boys behind for a bowling outing of their own, right? Let the girls have a girls day out at the fair?

Here’s the catch: I entered a few of my son’s craft items in the fair for the first time this year. I feel like he should be there to see the whole thing…not that he’d necessarily “get” it.

Today, autism really sucks.

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