Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Autism at the Zoo

We have always enjoyed the zoo even when Stephen and I were without our three kids. We often would go to one to walk around and look at the animals. Zoos are always changing as the animals change and have their own families. So when Miles was a baby we took him to the zoo a lot. But that's because we had a small one that was free to go walk around in our little town. So this year we decided to get a family membership to the zoo. So, how do we handle the zoo with Miles. 

1. Take someone with you to help.
       We are so lucky, to have my mom with us and willing to go with us to the zoo. We play tag team where each child has an adult that is with them. That way if one child is slower then the other the adult is with them. If G needs to go to the bathroom there is an adult with her. If Miles needs to take a break there is an adult with him.

2. Rent a wagon or stroller or bring your own
      The zoo is a large place and heck any adult gets tired walking around looking at animals. It's also nice to have to put your things in so you have easy hands to grab a child from running or walking off with someone that is not apart of your group. 

3. Weighted Backpack
      Miles doesn't usually elope, but there is so much to look at the zoo that he could take off. So we carry a backpack that Miles wears part of the time with some of his snacks, fidgets, and usually a water bottle (for weight and for drink). If we see him get anxious we usually put the backpack on him to help ground him for a little bit. 

4. Fidgets 
      We bring straws as Miles fidgets. Miles picks his skin on his hand and feet when he is anxious about something or when something is bothering him. We found out awhile ago that if he has a straws he won't pick. So, we always have straws with us and it's just regular plastic straws that you get at any fast food place. Miles loves to bend them and then straighten them over and over again. Also it makes it easy if by chance he loses one to find another one just like it. 

5. Don't make a Goal
    We don't make a goal about making sure we see all the zoo. We don't even make a goal to see everything in a section. We just go until we know the kids had enough. Sometimes we can get through more then others sometimes not. With Miles we never know. 

6. Get on the Tram and Train
     Let feet rest. Pay the extra to get the bracelet for these. It will give your feet a rest and it's a good time to hydrate and snack. Plus, most autistic kids like movements so it can help them regroup as well. 

7. Make sure to see your child's favorite animal at least twice
     Miles right now is really into the penguins. So we try to make sure to visit the penguins twice before we leave. Miles will actually watch them for over an hour and we usually let him watch them until he has had enough of them. It really helps him keep calm. We usually see them before anything else and before we leave. 

I hope some of these tips help other parents out there. There is no reason to be stuck in a house all day. It's also good for the kids to get our and be able to see the world around them. We love doing things as a family and just because Miles is autistic doesn't change us doing things as a family. We just make it work for us. 

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