Thursday, 8 May 2014

The plan is not to scar the innocent

Going most places with our 3 year old is a challenge that usually results in him banging his head on the concrete floor, blood curdling screams and flailing of his body.  He is a small boy with complex challenges including cognitive challenges, sensory processing disorder, autism, seizures, etc.  So what is a person to do?  Staying home is not an option as we have multiple children that "want a life" and our boy isn't going to learn skills to be able to cope if he doesn't practice.

Today's trip is to the aquarium but gone are the days of just jumping in the vehicle and going.  We chose the aquarium because the lighting is low and the atmosphere is generally calm.  If you think about it the aquarium is like a natural sensory room.  First step was to phone the aquarium and find out the quietest times for visiting.  This is essential for 2 reasons - firstly we want the least amount of stress/stimulation for our children and secondly if any do resort to their coping behavior we do not want to scar too many innocent people in the process.

We arrive at the aquarium well rested, as taking overtired children anywhere is not fun, especially children with complex needs.  Everyone eats a little snack, has a drink and either uses the toilet or has their diaper changed before we unload the vehicle.  2 wheelchairs and a couple strollers later we are ready for the aquarium.  We have our "sensory dulling bag" with us - this includes earplugs, sunglasses and wet wipes (in case anybody needs their hands cleaned).  All the kids with sensory issues have fleece sweaters with hoods in case it is windy getting into the desired location.

What a great time, there was only a couple other people at the aquarium while we were there and the staff were so helpful.  We had only one minor issue on the elevator that is set up like a submarine going into the depths of the ocean.  One child was scared of the sounds and shaking of the elevator cling tightly to Mom but was able to calm down quickly.  Some of the kids played a game learning how scientists do "eel grass studies" while others admired the fish.  Those that were interested created a "mosaic whale craft" and then we proceeded to the aquariums for touching the sea life.  Only those interested touched the sea life and then it was time for home.  This trip went amazingly well, we didn't traumatize anyone with our extreme behavior but we did manage to shock a few employees with the size of our family.

shared at

1 comment:

  1. I'm so happy to see that your trip to the aquarium was a success! It sounds like the perfect field trip destination for special kids sans the elevator ride! Planning ahead for every little detail really does help!