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Emma First School Excursion

Emma has her first school excursion to the farm tomorrow.  There has been a lot of preparation for this excursion over the last month.  At the start of the preparation there were a lot of tears and screaming but slowly it has ceased.

But tomorrow is the big day.

The challenges we are faced with are:

  • Parent’s are not allowed to go.  Thank goodness I have a very understanding teacher who has agreed that I meet them there so I can be a support person for Emma.
  • Never been on a bus.  We were going to take her on one over the holidays but we were having a lot of trouble with her in the car.  I can not go on the bus with her because we can not have other parents finding out.  So after a great discussion with her teacher, the teachers aide will sit with her so she doesn’t try and get off the bus.  She will have headphones on for the noise.  She will have her weighted blanket to calm the nervous system and I will get her to inhale some wild orange essential oil to help calm her down.
  • The farm in general.  This will be a challenging part because even at the zoo she spends about an hour climbing up my head in distress from it.  After discussion with her teacher, I want to stand back and just see what Emma does but the first hour could be a challenge and I am hoping that she will calm after that.  But if all goes wrong, I can take her home instead of battling too much with her.
  • They have a pony ride – I am sure she will be more than happy to watch.
  • They have a tractor ride – well I guess we will see how she goes with that.

I can see her having a great day.  But fingers are crossed.

How to Prepare an ASD or SPD Person For An Event.

Do you dread events that come up and wonder how you or your child will handle it?  Here is some steps on how to prepare an ASD or SPD Person for an event.

This weekend we took the girls to see the Lion King in Melbourne.  Although I was excited about it with sharing something so special, I also wondered how they would cope with something so new.  Things I was worried about were:

  • Heading into the city (didn’t connect until that morning that the Run for the Kids was also happening)
  • How they will go in crowds
  • How they would go being on a higher level
  • The sound level
  • Grace’s need for a break
  • What happens if they totally loose it during the show (mind you this one I worked out when I purchased the tickets, I made sure that our seats were at the end of the row).
  • I was also making this a surprise for Grace’s birthday (but silly me wrote it on the calendar on the wall and kind of didn’t factor in that Grace can read)

Nevertheless, after reading suggestions from Bill Nason, I thought I would share his suggestions and how I used them for this event.

Step 1:  Prepare in advance

The worst thing I could have done was keep it a secret to the day.  I knew Emma would love the Lion King as she watches it over and over again.  But even a week out she became anxious about it and it took her to a couple of days before to feel happy about going to see it.

Step 2:  Where are we going?

On the morning, I explained to the girls that we were going into the city and the fact that it was going to be busy and reminded them that they had to stay close and hold our hands.

Step 3:  Make each step a sequence

When we parked the car, I told the girls that we were going to have lunch.  I had given us plenty of time to have lunch before the show so it was nice and relaxed and the girls did not feel any pressure.  They both chose their lunch and so they had some control of the situation.

The next instruction was that we were going to walk to the Regent Theatre.  We reminded them that there would be lots of people around so we expected them to hold hands so that we do not get separated.  We also had the opportunity to actually divert around some of the crowded places which helped.

We were still an hour ahead but it gave the girls a great opportunity to look around the place before it got busy.  Plus it had stairs out front which is great for regulation.  But the girls had the chance to remain calm during the time (although they did get bored). It also gave us an opportunity to look through the program and talk about what they were going to see.

The next step was actually going to our seats. I explained to the girls it will be a bit high but it would be the best place to see everything that is happening.  We took it slowly and they handled it really well.  I took the time to tell the girls what was expected of them and that they needed to remain seated.  I also told Grace when she could stand up and have her break so she knew in her head that she was going to get her break.

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We took their noise reducing headphones with us which was ideal because the music was not so loud for them and it gave them some deep pressure at the same time.

Throughout the show we quietly spoke to them about what was happening which helped Grace especially as no one likes (spoiler alert) when Mustafa dies.

At the end of the show, we knew that their nervous system would be on edge so I put a drop of wild orange essential oil in their hands and let them breathe it is because citrus oils may help to support the nervous system.  (These statements have not been evaluated by the Federal Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent disease).

Once again we stepped through the process until we got to the car and we had a fantastic day out.

Reference:  Bill Nason, The Autism Discussion Book, page 56. 

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