Sunday, April 15, 2007

How Far Would You Travel for a Successful Outing With Your Autistic Child?

On Sundays near where we live, there's an "open gym" for children with autism and their families. The program is free -- supported by grants from organizations such as the Autism Alliance of Metrowest and Toward Independent Living and Learning -- and available on Sunday afternoons for the coldest six months of the year. Its attractions include a mini-trampoline, platform swings and other swings, a couple of pole-vaulters pads to jump into and other play equipment.

It's not what you'd call fancy, and it's mom and dad who provide the supervision here. But in the constant search for constructive activities and supportive environments, we've come to rely on it. So much so that our children, one who is on the autism spectrum and another who isn't, each mentioned the idea of saying goodbye to Paulie, the great guy who acts as host and safety-rules keeper, before we left today, the last session until the fall.

This gym is a place to meet other parents and sometimes you end up giving or gleaning tips about coping with different issues; many other times, you just nod to each other and offer silent support.

Today, one mother told us it was nothing to travel 30-plus minutes with her two kids to visit this open gym and, after thinking about it, I agreed with her. It made me wonder how valuable such a constructive family time is to other parents around the country. And so I'm asking you with this poll below. How far would you travel for a successful outing with your autistic child?

E-mail subscribers who cannot see the poll question can go here to vote.

How far would you travel (each way) for a successful two-hour outing with your autistic child?

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Also see:

What Do You Tell the E.R. Staff About Your Child's Autism?

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