Dealing with your own fears…
My daughter used to have quite an unpredictable and challenging behaviour between the age of 3 and 5 years old. I had to stay by her side when she used to be on a playground because at times, she could be very aggressive towards other children. She could kick, bite or hit them.
To be honest, it was always a huge source of stress and anxiety for me.To some point, I didn’t enjoy at all going in such places with my daughter. I ‘d rather stay at mine or at my relatives’ than getting exposed with my daughter. It was so heartbraking to have all those eyes on us when my daughter would have an outburst. But fortunately, I didn’t feel alright with the idea of locking ourselves up from the outside world as I was and still am a social person. I started having an inner fight with myself in order to overcome the distress and the feeling of shame. I realised that by hiding my daughter home, I would be missing on educating people about Autism. And more than that, my autistic child, like everybody else, has the right to walk on this earth even though she doesn’t match the current standards of perfection promoted by our Society . But really, if you give up and decide to make what I would call the wrong decision, you have to know that it is your child who is going to be the real looser . If you want your child to behave, you need to teach him/her. To teach him/her, he/she needs to experiment it for real and not from the comfort of your home.
A matter of organization and patience
First of all, I won’t encourage anyone to go out and spend several hours at one them Westfield shopping centres. This would be Hell for both you and your child. Personally, I can’t handle these types of places. There are way too much noise, light and crowd for me.
From this, you may have already understood that you need to find the place that will suit your child the most for his experimentations. It varies from an individual to another. It might be a park, a museum, a cinema, a swimming pool. Another important aspect that needs to be considered is the time frame. I am going to give a concrete example. As I stated before, my daughter used to struggle playing gently with other children . I then used to go for a month on a weekly basis at a park at 10am for 15 minutes. At that time, there were very few children so I wasn’t overwhelming my daughter with a busy environment and I was also setting up a routine. As my daughter reacted well, after a month, I increased the time frame to 30 min. This outing was always on a weekly basis. The third month it was 30 min but we were at the park for 11am. The park was slightly more busy but it was still reasonable
Hope you understood my strategy here! If not, leave a comment and I will try to help.
To end with, i would advise you to be very relaxed during these experimentations or it might ruin everything.Anxiety is “contagious” and , Autistics are commonly predisposed to anxiety.