As a mom of two boys on the autism spectrum I am always on the look out for new activities I can take my boys to that are inclusive to children of all abilities. You’d be surprised at how many places aren’t set up to welcome individuals in wheelchairs or those with sensory processing disorders. But, with a little research you can find locations that are perfect for your family and friends.
Not all kid’s attractions are created equal – some are a whole lot better!
Check out your city or state’s free children’s magazine
These are often located at your local library, grocery and convenience store. Here in Maryland we have a number of magazines available depending on which part of the state you live in, including: Baltimore’s Child Magazine, Chesapeake Family Magazine, and Maryland Family Magazine. The best part is all of these magazines also have online editions which means you can save a tree and access the information you need off their website any time of day or night.
I like to pull out my calendar and make notations of possible activities my boys and I can do during the week to keep their minds sharp and their bodies in motion. Typically I like to either start or end a summer day on the playground because afternoon temperatures can be upwards of 95 degrees and I don’t want to risk the dangers of heat exhaustion. To help combat the heat I like to take the boys swimming two to three times a week and thankfully we have a couple friends with pools who are happy to share with us. If you do not have a any pool connections you can check your local YMCA or community pool and see what days and times they have available for families.
Look local for museums and attractions
If you live in or near a metropolitan area there may be some children’s museums and attractions that offer special discounts for off-days or non-peak hours. For instance, in Baltimore we have a terrific children’s museum called Port Discovery which offers a number of attractions every year specifically geared towards children with special needs and their families.
I was also pleased to learn that the National Aquarium has a program called First Saturday & Sunday, which allows families visiting with a special needs individual to enter the museum a full half hour before the general public the first Saturday and Sunday of each month
Connect with other parents of kids with special needs
Many special needs support groups have family nights or trips to various attractions as a group that can make getting out and about not only fun but offers you the chance to meet other parents like yourself raising a differently-abled child. I know the Autism Society of America and Autism Speaks both have links on their sites detailing activities that may be happening right in your own community and how you can become involved too.
The most important thing is to have fun with your kids this summer. And the best thing about fun? It comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, and can be wacky, wet, adventurous or soothing and sweet. The key is to find out what your child(ren) thinks is fun and run with it. For my two that means we’ll be blowing lots of bubbles, swimming in the pool, swinging on swingsets, and having pillow fights.
Where will you find your fun this summer?
About the Author
Sunday Stilwell is the frazzled lady behind the banshee mask who can be found on her blog, Adventures in Extreme Parenthood, where she writes about raising two boys on the severe end of the autism spectrum while living to laugh and blog about it.
Sunday is one of the Reading Kingdom’s Summer Activity Guides. Be sure to check out the Reading Kingdom blog every Wednesday for posts from our Summer Activity Guides who will blog about parenting, and fun things to do with your children throughout the whole summer.