Yes, there is a Part 2 to The Turtle and the Hare, but sometimes life takes precedence. Sometimes you read or hear something that you feel inclined to discuss. That happened to me today – so tomorrow I’ll get back to The Turtle and The Hare.
When I write anything about how our life has been turned upside down and right side up by Tucker – I’m really not exaggerating. Although the world should never revolve around someone, there is a keen understanding that the world is just not the same when you have a child on the spectrum.
Everything is different…every trip to Target must be communicated ahead of time and planned. Every dentist appointment is preceded by three days of talking about what the dentist will do. A new year of Sunday School is brought with worrisome questions about a new teacher, a new room, a new system. Everything is different.
Although we can (and do) go most places that other folks go – it just takes much more planning. MUCH MORE PLANNING.
Then…every once in a while you read about an organization that gets it…that really gets it. All you want to do is be a part of their world – because they get it. In the past six months there have been two organizations.
The first is the Minneapolis Children’s Theatre. They offer sensory friendly programming where (according to their website: http://www.childrenstheatre.org/plan/sensory-friendly-programming):
- Reduction of loud or jarring sounds
- Reductions in flashing or strobe lights
- Modification of the house lights during the performance
- Accommodated house rules: audience members are free to talk or move during the show
- Extra staff and volunteer support.
- Designated “Quiet Room” and “Take a Break Space”
- Guidance and sensory supports (fidgets, earplugs, noise cancelling ear-muffs) available in the lobby before the show
The Theatre also offers social stories and a video tour of their theatre? Why? When you have a child on the spectrum you must practice, a lot. You have to be ready to answer questions – so many questions that it nearly makes a person insane (I’m not kidding here). The social story will tell a child what to expect on their journey to watch a show.
The second came today. The second is why I was prompted to write about this topic. It seems the Indianapolis Colts have it figured out. My son is a HUGE Vikings Fan…but the Colts will be sneaking into my wheelhouse from this point on. Not because of their players or their record. Because they are attempting to do something no other NFL team (at least to my knowledge – but would love to hear more if any readers know) has done.
This came across my news feed and upon reading it, I was brought to tears (literally). According to their website, “Fans will now find picture menus at all permanent food counters, as well as customer service areas offering sound proof headphones and weighted blankets to help calm those with autism who may be sensitive to loud noises and crowds. The team has also added a “Social Story” to its website, which provides helpful information and photos. A social story describes situations that a child with autism may encounter in any number of situations in words and pictures that are easily understood by the reader. It is a popular method for preparing children with autism for new or complex routines or social situations.” (http://www.stadiumjourney.com/news/09-26-2014/821/indianapolis-colts-improve-game-day-experience-for-fans-with-autism)
WHAT?!?!?! Are you KIDDING me? I wouldn’t have to spend hours researching and prepping on my own? The team already did it for me and I just have to be aware and go to their website?!?!?! Hallelujah!!! (like the kind of Hallelujah we shout a zillion times on Easter morning).
Who plays for the Colts anyway? How far away is Indianapolis? What are their colors? Who is their mascot?
This is now on my ‘must-do’ list….