In Search of a Book Title.

I am pleased to say there is movement at the station and my #KazBrooksBook project is coming along very nicely.  I am super excited!.

Kiddo at the Beach (a possible book cover photo) !!

Kiddo at the Beach (a possible book cover photo) !!

So the back story to this post is that I left Hubby to handle things on the home front last Wednesday night and I went out with friends and had adult conversations and laughed a lot.  The conversation turned to the topic of my writing and then to book titles.  So here are the ideas that were talked about at the table with my friends and now I am turning them over to you. Yes, you! I would love to know your thoughts and receive feedback, either by writing the number of the book title you like the best in the comments or feel free to play around with the title and the tag line and give me new ideas.  I am open to any and all suggestions!

Proposed Book Titles are:

#1 – At the Skatepark & On The Spectrum: Dropping In On Autism & Early Intervention.

#2- Engaging Kiddo: A Mother’s Story About Parenting her Young Son with Autism.

#3- As I Held My Breath: Parenting & Life on the Autism Spectrum.

#4- The Way We Roll: Parenting, Autism & Family Life.

#5- Snack-food, Sunshine and Skateparks: A True Story About Autism, Early Diagnosis & Early Intervention.

#6-Parenting a Young Child on the Autism Spectrum: Stories, Tips, Ideas & Inspiration from a Mother & Her Son.

thoughts, feedback…go! Muchas Gracias amigos!

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Be Nice To The Autism

One of the current goals I am working on with my son is expanding his expressive language. It basically involves using a variety of different prompts to let him know he needs to give me more language.  It started with a verbal prompt, then just a gesture, we then faded the prompt to a facial expression that says ‘you need to expand on that sentence buddy!’ Yes, believe it or not, there is a face for that! Now it’s just ‘wait’ time. If I pause then he knows he needs to stretch out that sentence before I will respond.

It’s been going really well and it’s actually pretty adorable and thrilling to hear him expand on his thoughts out loud.

So the other day Kiddo and I went for a drive to run some errands and we were passing through some beautiful countryside, feeling happy and just enjoying the sunshine.  Kiddo was looking relaxed and staring out of the car window when he made this comment out of nowhere:

‘I’m nice.’

I immediately jumped in with an enthusiastic ‘Kiddo !! Your ARE nice!!!’

Kiddo then repeated himself very slowly: ‘Ummm.. I’m nice ….I’m nice … Ummm… ‘.  I knew immediately I had interrupted his train of thought. The wheels were still turning. He does this at times. Repeats something and I can tell he is still searching. Searching for the words, a way to construct the words into a sentence, and a way to match the thoughts in his head to the words that come out of his mouth. It’s labor intensive for him.

So I zipped my lip and waited.

Kiddo: ‘I’m nice to SOME people.’

A long pause from him then slowly… ‘But I am not nice to some other people.’ I waited again. I could just tell he wasn’t finished. Long pause from him again. He was looking out the window then he turned his head toward me and said ‘I need to be nice to the autism.’  My chest tightened up and I felt the tears sting my eyes.

Kiddo continued oblivious to me trying to keep it together next to him.

‘I need to be nice to my autism.’

Then he turned away and looked out the car window again… lost in his thoughts.   He was finished. The conversation was over.

I said quietly: ‘Yes buddy … I know… It’s so true …’

My boy has not talked too much about autism of late since we explained his diagnosis to him a few months ago. This talk in the car was an exception. It was just the tiniest of glimpses for me into my own child’s personal journey towards self acceptance. No mean feat given the many roadblocks he faces on a daily basis.

What a privilege it was that I got to be there, sitting beside him, the one to witness such a moment.

Be nice to the autism. My autism.

I hear you Kiddo. I hear you.

Early Intervention: a reflection

‘That’s INTENSE!’

I said this the other day and my son asked me ‘What is intense Mummy?’ I replied: ‘It’s when something is really Full On…then you say ‘that’s  intense’!’ Not my finest definition, especially given that I am not sure Kiddo understands what ‘full-on’ means.  It was all I could come up with in the moment.

The word INTENSE and my definition to my son landed in my head again when thinking about the topic of Autism and Early Intervention for this post.  To be honest, I have had this post about Early Intervention sitting on my desk top (half written) for about six months now…the working title has been:  Early Intervention: The key to what….exactly?

Every article in the known universe, and every professional working in the field of autism says Early Intervention IS.THE.KEY. My question is ‘The key to what exactly?’

Best outcomes, or even better outcomes for your child, right? That’s a little bit of ‘therapeutic  jargon’  I have been thinking I would like to unpack-by asking some more questions of course!

What does ‘best outcomes’ even mean? What does that look like?  What does that look like for my child. For my family? In my real life?  My Kiddo celebrated his sixth birthday last week.  By most accounts a child ages out of early intervention around this age. What ‘outcomes’ has my son achieved by the grand old age of six? Do I need to wait until he is an adult to know the real answer to the ‘better outcomes’ question?   What happens when the early intervention stops? What’s next?

Does ‘Early Intervention’ live up to the hype?

For me early intervention was long.  My son was just a baby by autism therapy standards when he started out with intervention at 19 months of age.  That’s about 4.5 years worth of an intensive therapy program -a long stretch by anyone’s standards.  The years did not fly by either.  It was a long time, and it felt like a long time.

It was also effort. HUGE amounts of effort.  It was money. A lot, seriously A LOT, of money.  It was hard work. Damn hard work.  For all the time, effort and money…did it do what ‘they’ say it would do?

Well…yes and no.  This is where things get a bit tricky. My own opinion of what ‘good outcomes’ are has evolved and changed over the past 4.5 years.  My understanding about autism has changed.

When my child was first diagnosed I was not given much hope of ‘good outcomes’ for him.  I was secretly hoping the professionals had got it wrong.  The diagnosis that is. If he just starts talking I thought…then he won’t have autism anymore.  I was hoping the whole mysterious autism thing would somehow, magically, just go away. The same way is had appeared. ..from out of the clear blue sky…from nowhere anyone could really explain.

Then I started to read up and talk to more professionals, and then I realised that autism was not going to just go away (dare I say ‘Jenny McCarthy on Oprah show’ style). So  I clung on to Early Intervention as “THE ANSWER”, even “THE CURE”.  The holy grail for me was “NORMAL”.

By the time my son was the grand old age of TWO I was so exhausted from the fear, the pressure, the isolation and the work load I started to literally feel sick.  I was crawling on my hands and knees to bed at night because my legs would no longer hold me up.  Out of sheer necessity I started to make a shift. I began reading and watching clips by Temple Grandin (an adult with autism) and I started to redefine autism as a different way of processing the world. A different way of thinking.  Different not less.  ‘I love my child, but I hate the autism’ was how I felt now.  I still wanted to kick autism in the groin. Hard.

By the time my son was age THREE I felt differently again.  I was seeing my son’s personality getting stronger and stronger.  He had now been in therapy for almost half his life now. I started to think less about autism and more about him as his own person. He was a joy!   Hard work still. But I had  more of an ‘it is what is it’ attitude. That crippling fear I had that somehow autism was going to rob me of my child was gone.

By the age of FOUR the three things they (the diagnosing professionals) said may never happen-had happened.  My son was toilet trained (day and night), verbal (delayed but definitely verbal) and he was a socially interested and socially motivated child.  Also his cognition was proving to be on-par with typically developing peers.  At diagnosis it was stated that he was intellectually ‘at risk’. I now started to view developmental assessment reports more as opinions and guidelines, rather than fact or truth.

By FIVE my son was headed into a mainstream class with supports.   I now had to make a shift again. I knew my son was not going to have the kind of autism that could ‘fly under the radar’- as I had seen with other kiddo’s on the autism spectrum.  It was time to let this one go.  I started to work more towards others being accepting and understanding of my son’s differences. I started to model this with intention..and I started to write this blog. I felt it was time for the world to see that this was not a one way street. The world needed to do their part to meet my son half way so to speak.   He sure as heck had done his part.

Now my son is SIX.  Today it is about my son being his best autistic self.  Autistic is a term embraced by those with autism-so now it is fine by me.  Talking and listening to autistic adults (Ibby, Karla, Sparrow Rose, Jonathon and more) has been something I wish I had done more of early on, but I am here now and I am listening to their words.  It has been liberating actually.

For our family today best outcomes means our son is safe, competent and loved (thank you Bill Nason on FB’s ‘Autism Discussion Page’ ).  Sure there are days when I want to wish away the painful struggles that come with autism. I am happy to say in terms of us going forward that EARLY Intervention for my son was not really ‘the key’ but more of a foundation. One that he can continue to build on in the years ahead.  I guess my son will be the judge, and I know the day will come when he will share with me about how he found those ‘early intervention years’ and be giving me and hubby some performance feedback.  Fingers crossed- I hope we did good!  Early intervention was not only about my son however, it also put me on a steep learning curve about life, differences, disability and autism, gave me a different perspective on what is important, and put me in contact with many amazing and wonderful people, and families.   Early intervention really has been the key for me to change.

This is Autism

I have been on blogging break recently.  I gave birth to my adorable Baby Girl four months ago.  Then three months ago I moved with the family from Australia (back) to the USA.  Yep! Trust me…. it has been an adjustment.  We are still adjusting. One day at a time.   

Monday-November 11th 2013:

2:58am—Kiddo wakes up and calls out for me to lie next to him.  This has been a pattern for the past week or so.  Sleep is an ongoing struggle for my five year old (almost 6) Kiddo. I get up and go and lie next to him.  My back has been hurting since I gave birth to Baby Girl.  Plus Kiddo’s bed does not have a pillow-top mattress.  Pricing pillow top add-ons is on my ‘list of things to do’.  This  will allow me to lie next to my son in his bed without being in pain.  I am also aware that Hubby is bone-crunchingly tired and I want to try to let him sleep.

3:30am—Kiddo is still awake.  I give him some melatonin (or as Kiddo calls it ‘sleeping medicine’) to try and help him drop back to sleep. Baby Girl wakes up ready to feed.  This ends up taking a while and Kiddo starts calling out for Daddy this time to come and lie next to him.  Which Daddy does. Kiddo has been so anxious lately with all the changes that managing this anxiety has become a priority for us.

4:00am—I finish feeding Baby Girl and then struggle to get back to sleep.  I am worried about Kiddo and school.  The staff at his new school have been great, but Kiddo is pretty stressed out and his behaviour at school communicates this.  We are doing all we can to support him.  He is trying so hard.

5:05am—Kiddo finally falls back to sleep.  Daddy returns to his bed and falls asleep. I go back to sleep.

5:58am—Baby Girl wakes up for the day. She is all smiles! I get up with her and start our morning routine. Coffee is my friend.  Drive-through coffee is awesome too.

starbucks

6:30am—I am on the couch with Baby Girl and the iPhone. I begin researching possible activities for Kiddo to do today.  I am thinking of a family outing into the city.  Always gotta have a plan in this house! A day with no plan is just not good for Kiddo. Or us. Period.  Then Kiddo wakes up and bursts into the lounge room with joy: ‘Hi Mum-It’s me! I am back!’ .  Gorgeous!

7:00am-Kiddo watches TV. When the show is finished he looks out the window, sees the sunshine and exclaims with total excitement: ‘What a day! I am happy today. I feel good.  Sunshine! What a day! No school today.’  I respond to his total enthusiasm with ‘That’s wonderful Kiddo. I am so glad you feel happy today. I feel worried when you are sad and upset.’ Kiddo: ‘I am sorry mummy. I will try again.’ Me: ‘That’s OK Kiddo.  I am proud of you. I know you are trying.’

the sun is shining

Some days lately he is not so happy. There have been many meltdowns.  This boy of mine really does try so hard to ‘manage’ and regulate himself, his emotions, his body and its need for movement and input. This ‘management’ of his body and emotions is not only internal but also external, including contending with noisy, busy, highly verbal environments, bright fluorescent lighting and the general chaos of life and all its demands.  It’s a full time challenge for him….and our family.

8:21—Kiddo sits down for breakfast and starts looking under his chair. Me: ‘What are you doing Kiddo?’ Kiddo: ‘I don’t have a seatbelt’. Me: That’s funny! You don’t need a seatbelt in the house, only in the car.’ I smile at our cute conversation.  These days there are so many cute conversations. I don’t take it for granted. Never ever.

I sit down with Baby Girl on my lap while Kiddo eats his cereal.  I show Kiddo my sore finger.  I seriously have no idea how I hurt it! I ask him what should I do to make my finger feel better. Kiddo: ‘Go and see a doctor.’ Me: ‘I think I might ice it and see if that helps take away the pain.’ Kiddo: ‘Give me a try..Give you a try...(I wait – I know he is searching for the correct word)…Give IT a try.’ (yep-he found the word he wanted.) Word retrieval. Another struggle for Kiddo. Now my finger is numbed with ice I am pain free.

9:08—Hubby is up now.  It’s Veterans Day in the USA and he is home from work. Kiddo says to us at the breakfast table: ‘I feel HAPPY!!’. Me: ‘Why are you happy?’ Kiddo: ‘Because I am happy.’ Me: ‘But why?’. Kiddo: ‘Happy for mum and dad!’ Me and Hubby: ‘Awwww! Thanks Kiddo!’ I see Kiddo looking at Baby Sister…I can see he is searching for his words again…he says slowly: ‘Glad. Glad for Baby Sister.’

baby sister

9:31–Kiddo bounds over to his new ‘Angry Birds’ card game and asks Dad to play with him.  He has just started to play card games and board games this year. He loves it. He loves numbers.  Anything math related-he is in! Bingo and CandyLand are another two favourites. I love playing these games with my son. I feed Kiddo his vitamins while he plays and hand Hubby his coffee.  I put Baby Girl to bed for her morning nap, pack a cold lunch for Kiddo, load Dad and Kiddo into the car for a trip to the Skate Park to ride their scooters, and I crawl into bed for a morning nap. By this time I am hurting. I need sleep.

12pm—Dad and Kiddo come home from the Skate Park.  Hubby is exhausted and crawls into bed for a nap.  I am up with Baby Girl and do some cleaning while Kiddo has downtime playing games on the Ipad.  They are not educational games. Purely downtime…for him and us.  

IMG_1116

1pm—the Ipad dies. It wasn’t plugged into the wall properly.  I help co-regulate Kiddo who is very upset.  I wake up Hubby and we start getting ready to head out again.  All four of us this time.

2pm-4pm—We drive downtown to explore the city.  Kiddo loves it.  We drive around and find a park to visit.  I wait in the car with Baby Girl who is sleeping now and Hubby plays a high energy game of ‘chasey’ and ‘sharks’ with Kiddo and the other kids at the park.  Hubby is so animated I can hear him from down the street!

IMG_1136

5pm—home. We are all tired now.  Kiddo is much less verbal/non-verbal later in the day.  Also he is not responding to anything verbal.  We switch to visual supports about now.  Also his movements are more unpredictable.  Everyone is feeling.. ratty… it’s a challenge to stay calm and its a race to the finishing line (bed time).  

We drop past the shops to grab dinner.  Kiddo plays games on Dad’s I-phone while we wait in the car.  A phone call comes through. Kiddo answers the call and says : ‘I don’t want you to call me. I am trying to do something.  I’ll call you later. Speak soon. Bye-Bye now.’   Too funny! I laugh out loud and congratulate Kiddo for doing an awesome job answering the phone.  He normally just hangs up on whoever calls him when he is playing his games on the Iphone.  He giggles at my laughter.  I cant wait to tell hubby the good news! This is progress is our house!

The ‘night-time routine’ begins: Bath—dinner—Lego—Angry Birds card game (it’s usually TV  but Kiddo is loving his new game so we switch it out)—melatonin—brush teeth—toilet—read book—bed.

7:30pm—Kiddo is upset and crying.  Hubby’s phone died while putting Kiddo to bed. Kiddo calms eventually and is asleep by 8pm. Baby Girl goes to bed at 8pm.

8:00pm–Hubby has a work meeting. I write this blog post.

11:00pm–Bed. Hubby and I talk about the possible 3am wakeup and make a plan for this.  Tomorrow is a school day so we know Kiddo will be feeling anxious.

11:30—Baby Girl wakes up. Time for a feed. Before I know it its midnight.  There are some common themes in our autism day-to-day. Sleep. Communication. Planning.

Please feel free to share the keywords/phrases that form a ‘theme’ in your household…

Bigger than a Point of View

Kiddo enjoying the view

Kiddo enjoying the view

Last night on Australian commercial television a program called “Sunday” aired that addressed autism, ABA and Early Intervention.  I watched it and then ‘checked in’ with social media to see how it was being received.  Whew!  Controversy Central.  And that’s the way it often is with autism.  So many experiences. So many stories. So many points of view.  So much passion. It must be hard for the general public to get a clear read on what we in the (rather large and ever-expanding) autism community want them to know.

Here’s just a snippet of what is out there in blogs, articles, books, research and TV shows. Try getting your heads around this folks…

There is the ‘Autism is a Tragedy’ point of view versus the ‘Autism Rocks/Sparkles/Is My  Superpower’ point of view.  I get how people could arrive at either one of these points of view.

Then there is the ‘If there was a Cure for autism I would not give it to my child’ point of view versus the ‘If there was a Cure for autism I could give it to my child in a heartbeat’. Get it. Get both.

The ‘Cure’ view point leads to the Cause view point which leads to the diet, chemicals, pollution, vaccinations, antibiotics, maternal stress, parental age and just about every other thing on planet earth as a possible CAUSE of autism.

I get why autistic people and parents of older ASD children are tired of hearing about the latest Cause of autism and quite frankly maybe just don’t care.

Let’s take the two ‘biggies’ of possible Causes:  vaccinations and diet.

If your child was talking, social, laughing, happy and then they had a vaccination, immediately got a fever and then 48 hours later your child was screaming, head banging, non-verbal, with no eye contact, I can see how you would believe vaccines were to blame.  I get that.

I also get that if you had five kids all fully vaccinated and only one had an ASD and all the research you read said the vaccine-autism link was non-existent, how you would passionately defend vaccinations.

I get why parents write in their blogs about the details of their efforts to potty train their 9 year old child with autism.  I get why autistic adults find that demeaning.

I get why parents use positivity, humour, sarcasm and snark to share their experiences of raising their child.

I get why adults with autism want to be known as autistic adults.  Why they see their autism as an intrinsic part of who they are, not as a separate part of their lives. I also get why others advocate for person first language and why parents say ‘my child with autism’ in order to express the desire that their child not be defined by their autism.

I get why autistic adults and autistic adults who have children want to be listened to, why they strongly dislike organisations that portray them as children (‘infantalization of autism’), and are deeply upset by those who frame autism as a tragedy needing to be conquered, cured or fixed.

I get why parents have a hard time listening to the view point of high functioning autistic adults, when their own ASD children will never speak, read, write or live independently.

I get those who love ABA and those who loathe ABA.

I get those who live by ‘special diets’, and those who see it as a waste of time and money.

I get parent bloggers who write strongly from the point of view of their ASD child.  After all, for the ASD person it is their story, their struggles and their journey.  Mama’s stress is not the headline story-it’s the joys and struggles of their child that are put front and centre. I get that.

I even get the mother who was brave enough to share on her blog about the one time (by her own admission it hadn’t happened before and hasn’t happened since) that she ‘lost it’ and hit her kid.

In the midst of autism discussions, opposing viewpoints and controversy I come back again and again to a quote from autism researcher Dr Andrew Whitehouse: ‘Autism is a messy truth’.  Maybe autism will never be packaged into that tidy box with a pretty bow on top.  Maybe there will never be a one size fits all way of talking/writing/understanding autism. I gotta say though I do love the (very passionate!)  autism community I am a part of, both in real life and on social media.  Even when I disagree.

x Kaz

Kiddo dropping in

Kiddo dropping in

A Round Up of April and May.

The last two months have been a busy and interesting mish-mash of events.

Lego Time: Daddy and Kiddo

Lego Time: Daddy and Kiddo

There has been a lot going on autism-wise.  I completed a very detailed research questionnaire conducted by the Curtin University of Western Australia about the expense involved in raising a child with autism.    I was appreciative that this topic was (and is) being considered in a formal way.  In terms of how much it has cost our family to raise our son in the past few years the short answer is: a lot.   The long answer would have to be a topic for another blog post.  A few weeks later I met with the researchers (three of them) conducting the survey to talk and give feedback about the ‘Expenses’  questionnaire and talk about other research projects they have on the go.  Two in particular were discussed, the first was community mobility and public transport use in adults with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome (contact tania.barnett@student.curtin.edu.au if you or your adult child want to be involved in this study).   The researchers were particularly interested in the role social media might play in helping them ‘make contact’ with adults on the spectrum who might want to contribute to the study.  So they asked questions about my blog, who reads it etc as well as my other ventures into social media such as online support groups.

Expenses Questionnaire

Expenses Questionnaire

The second topic we discussed was the early detection and formal diagnosis of autism.  I was so touched by the keen interest of these  researchers in hearing my ‘journey’ from the early detection signs to the formal diagnosis of autism for my son.  Those first six months of 2009 are etched in my brain forever, and I have analysed events from every possible angle over the past four years.  A few psychologists have shown some interest over the years, but I have never had anyone ask about the tiny details, each and every step, my thought processes and the intense struggle of that year.  To be honest it was incredibly therapeutic to talk about my experiences with people who may be able to turn the ‘story’ of my family and my Kiddo into something that could assist other families.

I have also recently been involved in another research project called the PRISM study by run Dr Andrew Whitehouse and his team at the  Telethon Institute for Child Health Research.  This study consists of pregnant mothers who have a child/ren with autism.  No surprises as to what these researchers might be looking for!  For more info see the website http://www.childhealthresearch.org.au. So far I have had three scans, my hubby and I have completed a number of IQ-type tests,  given blood and saliva samples, and our son has completed two autism assessments (the ADOS and the Mullen).  I believe cord blood will be collected at the birth of my second child (a mere five weeks away now!), and her (yes, its a girl!) development tracked for two years after birth.  I have mixed emotions about being involved in a study like this one. Dare I say an exploration of that topic would have to be in (yet another) blog!

I should add here my second pregnancy has been (in a good way) entirely uneventful.  The back pain is no fun right now.  The frequent bathroom breaks are annoying.  I feel tired a lot.  But other than that-its been ‘drama-free’ and gone by quickly.  To be honest, it feels like a carbon copy of the pregnancy I had with my son.  My hubby and I (supported by his school) have started preparing our son for his new sibling.  This included school making a gorgeous reading book for him.  The baby sister drawing by Kiddo on the front is too cute!

A special book for Kiddo

A special book for Kiddo

I feel an overwhelming sense of delight at the thought of my son meeting and having a baby sister.  Coolest.Thing.Ever! This child will also round out our family to one of four.  Hubby had a vasectomy last week, and the jokes are abounding in this house at the moment.  Also Kiddo thinks two adults groaning (one with back pain and the other groin pain)  every time they get up is cause for hysterical laughter.  His line: ”groan-again mummy, say that “aarggghhh” noise again-daddy-hahahahahahahaha!!!  And just like that, the child bearing years are over.

On a less eventful note I also attended a school funding forum yesterday (yes, with my dodgy back suffering on a most uncomfortable chair) discussing continued funding for children in schools with disabilities.  It was really targeted at school educators and administrators.  The Federal government funding is called More Support for Students with Disabilities or MSSD.  Always gotta have an acronym!  Basically the schools who had received these funds in the last round of funding had to present (justify) the expenditure, and also make a presentation that would hopefully secure more funding for the future.  My son’s school was one presenting.  I was asked to give a parent perspective, but then later I was not needed.  (I will however post my little speech for you to read about my son’s school).  I came away from that forum thinking its not just the parents who have to fight for and justify the funding and support they need for their own children, but the professionals who work in this field also have the same struggles.  Money. Seems to be a theme in disability.

The theme continued at a Federal level with the Budget being introduced this month and it included funding the NDIS, now renamed Disability Care.  The PM then introduced the legislation to Parliament, and did so in tears.  Now the WA State Premier appears to be the last one holding out on signing up to this scheme of universal care and support for eligible people with disabilities.  I will, along with the rest of  those concerned about such things in this State and nation, stay tuned for the WA Premier’s next move.

And that’s about it.  I have a little talk lined up for the end of this month at the disability support organisation Kalparrin- see http://www.kalparrin.org.au.  My son is travelling along nicely, and gets funnier by the week.  Seriously, I need to start writing down some of the hilarious things he says and does to share with the blogosphere sometime soon.  So basically out of this one post I think I have another given myself another four or five to write…  But then again I just might have new topics to write about once June rolls around, bringing with it the great pleasure of meeting my little girl.  Happy days!

Autism Travel Tales…

This post is designed to link YOU to my very first guest post (!) on the fantastic blogsite “Autistic Globetrotting: Autism Travel Made Easy”  see: www.autisticglobetrotting.com

…our families travel tales start off with a bit of inspiration from my dear husband who writes: 

Those lovely moments when I find myself in a jumbo jet 30,000 feet above the Pacific Ocean and my son decides he wants go ‘exploring’…

I have to say reminiscing over our ‘early’ travel experiences did make me giggle.  Wince a little.  But still giggle.

The understanding looks of passengers when the aisle in the plane becomes my child’s personal 100m sprint track…

Yep! Kiddo is a ball of energy.  Always was and still is.  In all honesty though sitting down for umpteen hours in a confined space is just plain tedious-for anyone.  Thankfully I have heaps more strategies in my ‘bag of tricks’ now!  I am also unbelievably proud of my son’s ever improving ability to recognize and regulate his body and his emotions.

I smile with the knowledge that in 12 hours from now, I will never have to (with any luck) see any of those people again!

The truth is my whole family loves to travel. So when we can-we will! We deal with the ‘issues’ as they come up.  We learn from our mistakes and put our focus on all the wonderful people we meet along the way who are inclusive, helpful, understanding and patient.

For the rest of the post go to this link is http://www.autisticglobetrotting.com/surviving-long-haul-flights-with-your-autistic-toddler.html

Hope some of my travel tips are helpful next time you travel with your child/toddler. Enjoy!!

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Kiddo at the San Diego Zoo