Recently there was an 'Autism Night' at a local water park. We've never dared to take the kids to a water park before (also I picture the Malcolm in the Middle waterpark episode- ew :) but the tickets were cheap and we decided to just do it.
So glad we did, it was a really fun night!
I was much more relaxed knowing that the people there were not going to blink if the redhead had a meltdown (he totally didn't, he had a ball, though there was one moment he yanked something from someone else). I think everyone else there felt the same way. No one looked twice at someone having a meltdown (I only saw a couple at the end), having a hard time waiting in line, or squealing with pure joy. There were some kids there who were more severely challenged than others. It was a great night to go. Everyone was super nice and happy. Most people hadn't been there before, it's hard to pay full-price entry when you don't know if it'll work out!
I loved watching the siblings. There were kids helping their spectrum siblings around the lazy river, or keeping track of them on the slides. I remember one boy had a tight grip on his little sister's arm the whole time. She led him around and they went down slides together. Once a teenaged boy came off a slide behind us and very sadly and forlornly called 'Mommy? Mommy, where are you?' His younger sibs were there in less than 5 seconds (of course I had my mom radar on, so I was on it if that hadn't happened! :).
All those awesome siblings. I remember thinking 'Way to go! You guys deserve more credit or something special.' Including my own kiddos. But on the other hand, this is their life and it's the only one they know, and their reward is to be a more loving, caring, open-minded person. That is a pretty awesome reward.
Thanks Autism Journeys for sponsoring an awesome night!