This time of year is a traveling time. There's Easter, Passover, and spring breaks galore! I am taking my child away for two days for some spring break fun. This got me to thinking of a question... How do I travel with my autistic child?
We have never shied away from traveling with our child. We traveled with him pre-autism diagnosis AND after. We always wanted to travel and didn't let autism stop us.
Where do I take my child?
My best answer is wherever I need to. But, sometimes, we take him to events that center around autism.
For example, for the last five years, I have volunteered for Walk Now for Autism Speaks Los Angeles. It is one of largest walk events in the country.
Throughout the year, due to planning, Autism Speaks has monthly meetings. I not only have my son at the walk event itself, but I bring him to my meetings.
My autistic child is a very literal thinker. He is much more comfortable with the concrete; numbers, exact measurements, details about preferred topics, and proper names of things. Numbers are especially satisfying to him. He is confident with the concrete.
How do our kids think?
The most accurate word I use when describing how my child with autism thinks is he thinks "literal." Typically, children on the autism spectrum remember the concrete much easier than the abstract. They are logical and deep thinkers. Here are some recent examples from my own child to demonstrate:
My child asked me, "Will I get my computer today?" I answered him, "Discussing your bad test is 6,000 times more important than computer." My child responded, "Or more than 6,000."
What is a regional center?
In California, there are 21 regional centers. Regional center clients include people on the autism spectrum as well as people with cerebral palsy, mental retardation, epilepsy, and all other cases involving developmental delays. Recently, my child's regional center reported that approximately 90% of incoming cases are autism-related.
I attended a recent conference one week and then the next week I walked into a classroom for yet another class. I was reminded of why I feel educating myself is so important.
Once my child began services for developmental delays, and ultimately autism, it didn't occur to me at the time that my autism education was going to be ongoing. Early on, I simply didn't realize that my education was never going to stop.
One of the "heroes" of autism, and one of my personal heroes, is Temple Grandin. If you know anyone on the autism spectrum and have a desire to learn more about what makes a person on the autism spectrum tick, read about Temple Grandin. (There's even a movie of the same name.)
Why collect data? What does data collection have to do with your child's behavior(s)?
In my last blog, I explained the term, S.E.A.T. SEAT is a tool to help us understand and root out the cause of a child's unexpected and usually "bad" behavior. Was it a sensory issue, an escape issue, an attention issue, or a tangible issue that led up to a behavior?
What does S.E.A.T. stand for and why can it help you evaluate your child's behaviors?
S.E.A.T. stands for Sensory, Escape, Attention, and Tangible. It is my understanding that SEAT is a tool used to help understand your child's behavior by attempting to break down undesirable behaviors. SEAT helps you discover the purpose or reason or explanation behind a behavior, or why it occurred and what lead up to that behavior.
Why is this important?
Autistic kids are visual learners. They often understand and can handle visual input much better than they can absorb visual or auditory words. Our child has been receiving autism-related services since he was fifteen months old. We learned a long time ago how to help him when he's struggling, we use pictures.
One way was social stories. What is a social story?
A social story is a tool used to help a child who struggles to understand their social world. Social stories do this by showing a child a social situation explained in pictures.