As you may be aware, if you've read a number of my posts, I like to talk about the positive sides of life with a young child with autism. I like to feel I see the positive in most situations and so don't necessarily talk about the 2 hours of bedtime routine or the being work up in the middle of the night or early mornings every day 🙂
I like to talk about the positive. However, for this post, I wanted to talk about some of the difficulties we face when doing something simple such as going to the beach.
One of the main reasons we moved to the coast was to offer the kids that chance to grow up near the sea. At the time we moved little Mr had not been diagnosed with ASD, so we were just going about our daily lives without having to think that through.
One of the positives about where we moved, we seemed to go through the process of diagnosis quickly - as compared to others we know back in the county we were living.
So, we moved here with the beach in mind. Thoughts of summer, winter and the other seasons down on the beach front. Picnics, beach play and all that. We did find that little Mr (and again this was before diagnosis) was a little hit and miss with the sand - one season he would like, another he wouldn't. He seemed to enjoy the walks though.
Some of these things did seem to fall into place though, after the diagnosis.
So, as I said, we moved here because of the sea and the beach. Not so little Miss loves going to the beach and will play with sand, paddle in the sea and so on. Little Mr though, well, he is a little bit of a handful.
He does like playing in the sand, sometimes at school a little too much. What you can't do though is sit down in one place. You can't place a towel and stay, he sits for a minute, then drags you up and wanders.
You also have to have him on a backpack or be holding his hand. He's a runner, so you have to supervise constantly. As part of his school outings, they go to the beach regular and this is also something they have mentioned.
A busy beach and he could be gone into the crowd. He also runs towards the sea and with no danger awareness, well, who would know.
So, you can't just sit and hope he would, you can't sit at all. Not the best situation for a family outing.
However, little Mr loves going to the beach and paddling in the sea. He gets so much enjoyment out of playing in the sand, padding in the sea. He loves to walk up to just over waist height and jump around. He would go out further - but as no backpack and only holding hands - its the danger awareness part we have to understand for him.
See, for all the negative things, the positive joy they get is worth the extra effort and hassle for us. We just have to make sure we don't rest. As adults I think I've had my fulfilment of beach play, I've never been one for sitting and resting on the beach, and so, up and active is no at issue. It's not so negative.
However, some of you may have the same situation that we have and would prefer to sit and enjoy. For not so little Miss, my wife will take her to the beach one on one from time to time - just so she can have that time to rest and play and enjoy.
Me, I just go out for a wander with little Mr as we both enjoy the walking. The only real difficulties at the beach is to make sure the kids are safe and secure. It takes that little bit more effort with little Mr, maybe most children with difficulties such as ASD. However, the joy they still get is worth it.