Thursday, 3 January 2013
Reminding myself why "A Mile for Autism"
Given our recent health kick, alongside healthy eating is of course exercise. As a family we don't do enough and this year we have made a resolution to get outdoors more, regardless of the weather. Our children love the freedom of outdoors and I notice that even a relatively short walk encourages them to eat up all of their lunch or dinner, improves their behaviour and means they sleep well.
Today I had decided that our walk would be partly a mile to help my friend in her 365 miles project, raising awareness for Autism. Whilst we were walking I was thinking about how autism affects children with varying severity, very similar to Samuel's 22q11. Some children with autism can grow up to lead relatively everyday lives with just a little support, whereas others need specialist support all their lives.
I was also thinking a great deal about Samuel's behaviour. We took our walk at a place called Highcliffe Castle and walked down some steps onto the beach.
Here Samuel can run about, make as much noise as he likes, be as silly as he likes, and its ok. Quite different to having to control him in an environment with lots of people, or lots of "things" like in a shop. People naturally think he is naughty, but really he just finds it hard to "cope" in those places. This is something that parents of autistic children also come across on a day to day basis. The "looks" and the "stares" because they are seen to not be controlling their child.
I think this is why we always gravitate to the quiet beach areas, we know that all three of the children can roam about, explore and just be themselves.
Samuel even braved climbing up a steep slope to avoid the longer walk up the zig-zag to get back up to the castle grounds.
When we got back to the castle grounds the children started playing chase through the maze of empty flower beds. In the spring and summer these areas are planted up with colourful flowers and as the castle is a popular wedding venue I'm guessing that plenty of couples have their wedding photos taken here.
From the castle there was a clear view of the Isle of Wight and the Needles.
We all thoroughly enjoyed our walk today, and it was a good time to remind myself that although no-one can see it, Samuel does have a disability and like parents of autistic children, sometimes it is necessary to tailor what we do to his needs.