Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Autism Answer: The Gift of a Challenging Celebration!

Fireworks, food and fun! July 4th can be a true challenge for our ASD kids; special diets--surrounded by offerings of GMO and dairy filled treats!-- sound sensitivities, social fears and more. It can be tempting to stay home and watch America's independence celebrated on TV, and for some of us that is the right choice. But for most of us the challenges are wonderful, rarely offered learning opportunities! 

If we take advantage of the mostly celebratory, happy moods of strangers, the openness to chatting that happens when families and neighbors gather to remember and feel pride in our Country, we can teach our kids, ourselves and our neighbors a lot!

It's important to remember the real challenge for your autistic loved one and plan the outing with kindness, asking them to meet you half way. Suggestions like "If you stay with us without getting angry or hitting yourself for one hour, I will allow you to have a soda." and positioning yourself in the most likely to succeed area etc... can make the day a wonderful opportunity for success and fun!! For some of us success will be stepping out onto your balcony with blankets and an agreed upon deal to stay out there for twenty minutes, and for others it will be going to a block party with sparklers, fireworks and friends. Just because success doesn't always look the same, doesn't mean it isn't there or that it doesn't always look good!

Independence Day is about celebrating an idea. An idea that we all deserve freedom and equal rights. That we should be responsible for ourselves and have the freedom and rights to make choices and do what we feel is best. I can't imagine a better celebration challenge!!! 
I'm looking forward to a fabulous and fun challenging celebration this July 4th!! I bet you are too!

Hugs, smiles and love!!

My autistic brother, Dar
Enjoying a challenging celebration!