Happy Mother’s Day!

Dear Autism Mom on Mother’s Day,

Hero. Therapist. Best friend. Teacher. Peacemaker. Advocate. Safe harbor. These are just a few words to describe incredible Autism Moms like you.

You won’t get a break from autism today. There won’t be a free day to do whatever you wish. Autism doesn’t turn off just because it’s Mother’s Day, your birthday, or any other special occasion. You will spend the day keeping to the Sunday schedule, so your child doesn’t have a meltdown. It’s more important to help them remain regulated. You will have to be on guard all day to keep them safe. You will prepare the special food of the things your child will eat, then watch their special tv show or movie for the millionth time while maintaining the appropriate noise level. There is no rest for an autism mom. You have to do all this in spite of the date on your calendar. Added into the mix is trying to make the day special for the grandmothers who will expect adoration and praise.

Being an autism mom isn’t for the faint hearted. It makes being a mom a million times harder. Hang in there. Just when you think you can’t go one more second, your child will do something new that you’ve been working on for ages. You are loved unconditionally by a very special person. Your child may not be able to express it verbally, but you are their hero. You are a rock star Autism Mom. Not just any old mom. Not a soccer mom. A rock star Autism Mom. You may not get flowers or sappy cards. You may be beyond exhausted at the moment. But, your child depends on you to make their world a safe and loving space. There is no higher honor on this planet.

Take time today, as well as regularly, to reflect on your past successes. Take time to appreciate all of the little things that you do for your child day in and day out. Appreciate all the progress you and your child have made this year. Take a brief minute to breathe deeply while relishing in your success. Appreciate that you are using your energy and talents to make this world a better place for your child. You never envisioned being a mom to a child with autism. It’s not an easy role nor can just any person fill it. However, we want you to know deep down in the core of your soul that you are fiercely loved by someone with autism.

At AMAB magazine, we want to wish you a very Happy Mother’s Day! You’re not just your children’s hero. You’re our hero too! Most importantly, we want you to know this: We see you. We see you working hard to advocate for your kids. We see you actively helping raise Autism awareness. We see the sacrifices you make daily to make this world a better and safer place for your kids to grow up in. We see you, and we value you. Thank you for all that you do, Autism Moms! You are changing the world! And, you rock the universe!

Love,

The AMAB Magazine Team

Special Education Advocates: Are They Worth Hiring?

For many Autism Moms, Admission, Review, and Dismissal (ARD) meetings can seem quite intimidating. This is a huge meeting with school officials and . to determine whether or not a student is eligible for special education and to develop the Individualized Education Program (IEP) for your eligible student. Sounds simple enough, right? Wrong. From discussing which therapies your child will receive through the school to discussing the benefits vs harmful effects these therapies, or lack thereof, will have on your child, there are many factors to be considered during an ARD meeting.

Some school districts are great about working diligently with parents to help provide the best resources for each student. But, what happens when certain school districts are not so helpful and accomodating? What happens when the school did an evaluation, and the results look like they describe a completely different child? What happens when you, as a parent, know that your child needs occupational therapy, but they’re convinced he doesn’t need it at all? That’s when Autism Moms have to fight to get their children the resources they need and deserve. Sometimes, that’s still not enough though. That’s where Special Education Advocates come in.

Special Education Advocates are professionals who work hard to advocate for your child. They offer services from parent training and education on how to have better success during ARD meetings to actually going with you to ARD meetings and advocating for your child to get the resources they deserve. Here are ten reasons to hire a Special Education Advocate:

1. Level the Playing Field

Have you ever been to an ARD meeting for your child and been told by the school district, “We cannot do that?” Did you ever wonder whether what they were saying was actually true? When you work with a Special Education Advocate, you will understand your rights and what the school district’s obligations really are. This will help level the playing field for you and make navigating the ARD meeting easier.

2. Alphabet Soup

FAPE, LRE, IDEA, 504, NCLB, IEP, IFSP, CSE, CPSE, EI, etc. In order to effectively advocate for your child you must know the lingo. Terms may be used at an ARD/IEP meeting that you do not understand.  This immediately puts you at a disadvantage. A Special Education Advocate can help you understand how these terms apply to your child.

3. Understanding Testing

School psychologists, special education teachers, and other related services professionals have gone to school for many years to understand how to test and interpret results.  Most parents, however, are not trained in the language that is used to report data. A Special Education Advocate can review your evaluations, progress reports, and other data and explain to you what they mean, how they apply to your child, and what services your child may or may not be entitled to based on those results.

4. Did the District Forget Anything?

Do you think your child would benefit from Assistive Technology? Is it time to discuss transition? Has your child been having behaviors in school that impact his or her learning, and you believe that the district has not tried everything they could have tried yet? A Special Education Advocate can assist you in ensuring you have gotten all appropriate services for your child.

5. Goals!

Your child’s goals are one of the most important components of their Individualized Education Program, yet they are also one of the most overlooked components of your child’s IEP.  Goals need to be meaningful. They should not be the same from year to year. Instead, they should be individualized. Additionally, goals should be developed with parental input. A Special Education Advocate can assist you in developing individualized and meaningful goals for your child.

6. The IEP Document

Did you ever receive your child’s IEP, and it did not accurately reflect what occurred at your meeting? Your IEP is your “contract” with your school district.  If something does not appear in the IEP, then it does not have to happen, whether it was discussed at the ARD meeting or not. A Special Education Advocate can help you review your IEP and make sure that all necessary information and services are contained in it.

7. You have So Many Roles

As a parent of a child with Autism, you have many roles at the ARD meeting; these include being the parent, the listener, the questioner, the active team member, the creative thinker, and an advocate. It is impossible to play all of these roles well. You also may not be comfortable with one or more of these roles. Bringing a Special Education Advocate to your ARD meeting takes the burden off of you in having to serve in all of these necessary, yet very different capacities.

8. Take the Emotions Out Of It

Let’s face it. We tend to get emotional when speaking about our children. Being a parent of a special needs child myself, I will be the first to admit that I cried at my own son’s very first ARD meeting. And, because of that, I had some difficulty being able to get my point across when I was emotional. However, I quicky learned that this is a business meeting, and I needed to keep emotions out if it in order to fight for my child. Having a Special Education Advocate at your ARD meeting will allow you to participate while also taking the emotions out of it. This means that you’ll be better able to keep a clear mind about everything, which will give you a better chance at success in your child’s ARD meeting.

9. Your Child is Not Making Meaningful Progress

As a parent, you know your child better than anyone else. You may feel that your child is not making progress in their current program. If this is the case, it is important that you speak with a Special Education Advocate to do an analysis of your child’s progress, or lack thereof, and assist you in obtaining the program and/or services your child requires to make meaningful progress.

10. You Do Not Agree

In a perfect world, we would all come out of an ARD meeting with everything our children are entitled to. Many parents wrongly walk away without needed services when they are initially denied during the ARD meeting. If you feel that your child is not receiving all of the appropriate services from your school district, it is extremely important to speak to a Special Education Advocate to know whether you have a right to a particular service or accommodation for your child and what your next steps should be.

While we at AMAB wish none of our fellow Autism Moms ever had to worry or fret about needing a Special Education Advocate, the reality is that they are greatly needed. This is why Special Education Advocates are incredibly valued in our Autism Community. If you are having trouble agreeing on assessments, accommodations, or plans with your child’s school and district, you aren’t alone. And, you do have rights. They’re clearly spelled out in the federal Notice of Procedural Safeguards. And, we highly encourage all Autism Moms to educate themselves on what their rights are. Good luck to all the Autism Moms gearing up for their children’s ARD meetings! Autism Moms, you truly rock the universe!

How To Make Time For Self-Care

When you’re an Autism mom, you are constantly juggling with multiple responsibilities. With work, therapies, doctor’s appointments, and household chores – we’re often left with little room or energy to focus on our own needs. Consequently, self-care quickly falls to the back burner as you continue with your daily grind.

Even though it may seem like the right thing to do, routinely dismissing your own needs can have an adverse effect on your overall health. It can make you irritable, fatigued, stressed, and susceptible to a full-blown burnout. So, in order to save your health (and sanity), please make time for self-care!

By taking better care of yourself, you’ll not just meet your own needs. You’ll also equip yourself to take better care of your family as well. Want to know where to begin? Here are some simple self-care strategies you can start following right away:

  • Sneak exercise into your daily routine. Sticking to your usual workout routine can be challenging for busy moms. One way to tackle this issue is to choose outdoor activities that you can do with your kids to stay physically active, consistently. For instance, you can take your kids to a playground. Even simple exercises like doing lunges, jumping jacks, and squat jumps while your little one plays can help you stay fit and energized. Just remember that consistency is the key.
  • Take advantage of early mornings. One of the easiest ways to ensure that you don’t miss out on me time is to start off early in the day. Go for a quick jog or walk, practice meditation, read a book, or have a quick massage by using a shiatsu massage pillow to massage your shoulders and upper back at home. You can also try self-care apps like HeadspaceHappy Not PerfectColorfy, and 365 Gratitude.
  • Try micro self-care techniques. Let’s be real, it’s not feasible to soak in bubble baths for hours or go cloud-watching every single day when you’ve got so many errands to run. The trick here is to practice self-care in short intervals, so you can easily squeeze it into your jampacked routine. For example, try one-sentence journaling or five-minute journaling before going to bed. You can listen to your favorite music or podcast while driving, whip up your favorite dish on a weekend, or take deep breaths for five minutes after you wake up.
  • Invest time in your health. Be honest, when was the last time you went for a full body check-up? Know that your health and overall well-being is just as important as that of your kids. So, make time to see your ob/gyn, schedule dental exams, and go for annual check-ups that all include important tests. In addition to this, be mindful of what you put in your body. Load up on whole foods like grains, nuts, lean meats, fresh fruits, and veggies.

In addition to all of this, be realistic while setting your daily goals and regularly assess your priorities. As much as we want to, we cannot do it all. However, we can set realistic goals to achieve.

And last but not least, please don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it – whether it’s from your partner, family members, friends, fellow Autism parents, or a counselor. I know it can be difficult to find support, but please reach out if you ever need it. If you’re ever looking for support and comraderie from fellow Autism Moms who get it, I’d like to encourage you to join our Autism Moms Are Beautiful with Nichole Wilson group on Facebook if you aren’t a part of it already. If you’re bilingual, we also have a Spanish support group called Cafe Azul. No matter which group you choose to join, you will be met with compassion and encouragement. Keep on rocking, Autism Moms!

Easter Tips

Happy Friday everyone! Easter weekend is upon us. It’s the time of year filled with Easter egg hunts and spending quality time with loved ones. Unfortunately, for many of our children, these egg hunts can easily become an overwhelming and stressful experience. Over the years, I tried to find ways to help my son cope with everything. I hope that some of these ideas might help your child if they also seem to get overwhelmed by Easter egg hunts.

 

Before the Hunt

  1. Practice. Before attending an Easter egg hunt, you can roleplay Easter egg hunts at home. Hide a few eggs around the backyard for your child to find. You don’t have to include treats in the eggs. Let your child get excited about the hunt. Perhaps you can start by hiding one color of eggs. Next time, add in another color, and so on until you have a multicolored effect. You don’t have to do all the hiding, either. Usually, siblings and other family members love to help with this game.

The Day of the Hunt

  1. Arrive early. Spend a few minutes with your child to assess the situation when it’s quiet and relatively calm. This is also a good opportunity to explain that everyone will help gather the eggs and that some children will find more eggs for their baskets. It isn’t a competition to see who can find the most eggs.

2.Bring the necessary gear. For exanple, would your child cope better wearing headphones before and during the hunt? If so, make sure you bring them. You can even decorate and put bunny ears on the headphones if you want to be extra festive. Your kid will be very much in style! You can also bring favorite snacks and a favorite you to help keep your child in a good mood.

  1. Explain the rules. Many children on the spectrum want to know what the rules are. Are all the eggs fair game? Just certain colors or a certain amount? When can they start? Where do they put the eggs that they find? Even children who don’t have special needs want to know the rules. Once, my mother took my nephew to his first, huge, public egg hunt. Her instructions were, “When the bell goes off, you run!” Well, the bell sounded, and he ran. . .and ran, and ran. Luckily, he heard her yelling that he should stop and pick up some eggs, and he saw what the other kids were doing, so he followed suit. We still tease Nana about her incomplete instructions that day.
  2. Bring your own basket. Make sure your child has a place to put their eggs. It’s too confusing if they have to shuffle them around or use a makeshift container that was grabbed at the last second. They don’t need a fancy basket, but they need a basket similar to what the other kids might have. It doesn’t make sense to them if everyone else has baskets, and they have a grocery bag. Plus, if you allow them to use the basket or bucket they use while practicing before the egg hunt, it’ll make for an easier experience. Your child will recpgnize their Easter basket or bucket and know that it’s egg hunting time.
  3. Take your time. They don’t have to rush. All the other kids might be rushing, but your child doesn’t have to. In my son’s case, his fine-motor skills were lacking. He simply couldn’t grab the eggs and put them in his basket as fast as the other kids. So, we told him ahead of time and kept reassuring him during the event that it was okay to go his own speed. We were careful not to hurry or rush him along.
  4. Go with your child. If your child wants you to come along with them, go along! Carry the basket, offer encouragement, and offer a suggestion or two, so that they don’t become overwhelmed. Be careful, though, not to give lots of instructions, or you will add to the chaos. Instead, lead gently by example or just point out an egg to them. If you’re at a public egg hunt that doesn’t allow parents to be involved, see if a sibling, an older cousin, or a friend would be willing to help them.
  5. Let them stop or opt out if they want to. For the first two years, my son would pick up a few eggs and then stop. He was done. I’d encourage him to find more, but he didn’t want to. So, I decided not to push it. If he was happy with a few eggs, then that was perfectly okay with me. Sometimes, he just wanted to watch his cousins and friends from the sidelines. And, that was okay too.

Another Option

Personalize an egg hunt. If the group egg hunt didn’t go well for your child, make an Easter egg hunt just for them. You can do lots of eggs or just a few. You can do one color of eggs or many colors of eggs. Your child can even take all day to find the eggs if he wants to. In those first couple of years when my son struggled, I did egg hunts just for him. Hands down, those egg hunts were his favorite in those years. He absolutely loved it!

The advantages of mastering the Easter egg hunt for kids on the spectrum:

Looking back, I believe that helping my son learn to manage social occasions such as these family celebrations helped him immensely with his social skills. He stopped being afraid to interact with his cousins and friends. In fact, he soon began to enjoy their company and look forward to seeing them. He loved his down time too, but by mastering social events like Easter egg hunts, he learned how to follow directions and truly look forward to these celebrations with loved ones. He became the expert Easter egg hunter thanks to all the practice he had over the years. My hope is that your amazing kids on the spectrum can become expert Easter egg hunters too. Have a safe and wonderful Easter everyone!

Forgiveness

If I could have just been a little better, a little smarter, a little more proactive, a little more succesful, done a little more research–a little more of anything but what I actually was or did–then, maybe, just maybe, I could have began getting my baby early intervention sooner. Maybe if I’d done something different, my kid would be higher functioning than they currently are. Or, maybe my child might not have ended up with Autism at all.
Have you ever caught yourself trapped in this kind of thinking? Jumping through mental and emotional hoops just to figure out what you could have done differently? I will be the first to admit that I definitely have. In the days leading up to and shortly after my son’s diagnosis, I spent many nights thinking these things after my son went to bed. The truth was that I was mad at myself and wondered if I had failed as a mother.
The negative self-talk and internalization nearly drove me crazy. Often times, we are our own worst critic. For Autism moms though, that self-criticism often goes into overdrive. I soon began to realize that none of this was my fault. It was nobody’s fault. I had to teach myself to change that inner dialogue and be kind to myself. I had to learn to forgive myself and accept myself, especially if I wanted the chance to be the best advocate for my son I possibly could. I had to learn how to love myself unconditionally and allow myself to grow and redesign my life to help set my son up for success.
Understanding who I am and showing myself the same grace that I show others has made all the difference. I became a better Autism Mom because of it. If you ever find yourself struggling with this type of thinking, please do this for me:
Pause, right now. Take a deep breath and tell yourself the truth: You ARE a wonderful parent. You are CAPABLE. And, your beautiful autistic child loves you UNCONDITIONALLY. No strings attached, no hoops to jump through, no list to check off. Just as you are, right now, you are ENOUGH. And, you always will be. Keep rocking the universe, my fellow Autism Moms!

7 Ways Teachers and Parents Can Motivate Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Written by: Brenda Kimble

Kids on the autism spectrum often have a limited number of interests and can lack the ability to respond to social feedback, which is essential for learning. This can make it challenging to engage kids in classroom tasks and lead to students feeling frustrated because their needs are not met. Also, traditional classrooms and teaching strategies are often ineffective at encouraging kids with autism to learn.

However, there are many ways teachers and parents can help kids on the autism spectrum stay motivated – both in the classroom and at home.

1. Beading activities

Arts and crafts are a well-established method of engaging children on the autism spectrum. The structured step-by-step approach to creating beaded crafts helps to give kids a sense of control. The fine motor skills required to select, arrange and thread beads help them to develop strong hand-eye coordination, which can in turn assist them in other areas, such as writing and reading comprehension. Also, using bold, bright gemstone beads can create a visually stimulating sensory experience.

If you want to incorporate this beading activity into your classroom lessons, use colored alphabet beads to practice spelling or phonics. Beading can also be an effective transition task to calm agitated children.

2. Ice cube painting

Combining STEM and art concepts into one fantastic activity is an excellent way to spark interest and get them involved in a task that is educational and gives them some gentle sensory input.

Art activities provide kids on the spectrum with an outlet for creative expression. This is a particularly effective task for nonverbal kids who have trouble communicating needs and emotions.

3. Sensory collages

Often children on the spectrum have sensory processing issues that can make them disengage from specific activities they feel to be over- or under-stimulating. Sensory collages provide a safe, non-threatening way to introduce unfamiliar sensations and textures, and can be easily incorporated into a variety of lesson plans.

Use a range of natural and artificial textures, such as rice, tree bark, aluminum, felt or cotton, and instruct your kids to cut or tear pieces of the materials to stick on printed-out templates.

If you have a child who is averse to messy activities, you must be sensitive to their comfort level during the task. Provide a clear verbal or visual introduction for the task, and begin by having them try to use utensils to apply glue and arrange the scraps on the paper to avoid contact with the glue.

4. Sensory boxes

Sensory boxes are a great way to encourage communication in autistic kids, and an effective way to increase their vocabulary. You can easily tailor the contents of the boxes to suit the interests of your kids or incorporate lesson content and concepts, making them an exceptional way to motivate kids to learn.

When creating your sensory boxes, make sure you don’t include articles that could be potentially dangerous for autistic kids. Seemingly innocuous items or small pieces can become choking hazards for kids who put things in their mouths. Work around this by creating a box with edible pieces.

5. Slimy sensory play

Slime can provide an interesting tactile experience for autistic kids and can be used in the classroom as a “calm-down item” to squeeze and pull while completing other tasks, or you can customize the slime with topic-related items to create an engaging teaching material.

There are so many different textures of non-toxic slime you can create from runny cornstarch slime (a great material for a science lesson on non-Newtonian fluids) to soft, fluffy slime that is perfect for mess-averse kids since it doesn’t stick to hands or surfaces. You can also make edible slime for kids likely to put it in their mouths (just avoid the food coloring for kids sensitive to artificial colors).

6. Calming sensory bottles

There are occasions when kids on the spectrum can get so overwhelmed it can be difficult to engage them in any task. There are many effective calm-down techniques available to teachers and parents, such as whole-body pressure, self-massage or sitting in a designated “quiet space.” Whole-body calming strategies aren’t often available to autistic kids in the classroom, but calming sensory bottles are an excellent alternative for children who need a distraction from whatever triggered their meltdown.

The slow movement of the objects in the bottles acts as a visual anchor by drawing their focus into a single place to stop them from feeling out of control. This allows the kids to return to a state where they are no longer agitated, and they are more likely to re-engage in classroom tasks.

The bottles should be introduced first by an adult, and gradually the kids will learn to use them whenever they need to refocus, making them an exceptional way to foster self-regulation in autistic kids.

7. Whole-body learning

Proprioceptive and vestibular sensory input is just as essential as stimulating the other senses for encouraging learning. Incorporating activities into your lessons centered around these sensory experiences can be a wonderful way to motivate autistic kids to try new tasks, as many kids on the spectrum enjoy and benefit from movement throughout the day.

Include whole-body learning techniques into your lessons or everyday routine by allowing the kids to use movement to explore concepts. Or you can tailor the classroom environment to allow movement during class. Another way you can provide kids with movement opportunities is with sensory breaks from traditional seated learning, such as providing fitness balls or small trampolines for them to use to decompress.

Final Thoughts

Just like any other child, kids on the autism spectrum want to feel engaged and be stimulated by their lessons and activities – both at school and at home. Although it can be difficult for some autistic kids to find the motivation to try unfamiliar tasks, incorporating some of these activities into their daily schedule can be a great way to encourage them to learn and foster essential development skills.

However, there are huge variations in behavior and ability along the spectrum, and it is vital that you select activities within the capability, comfort level and interests of your child for them to be most effective.

7 Signs of Caregiver Burnout as a Special Needs Parent

 

7 Signs of Caregiver Burnout as a Special Needs Parent

A mom is a mom and caring for their child is in the job description.

I agree, of course, but caring for a child with severe autism is so much more. It’s an up all night, never sit down, zero to life journey.

I have 2 children. Cooper, my first born, is loving, caring, funny and was diagnosed with autism at age 3.

He is now 6 and his autism falls on the severe end meaning he is nonverbal with severe sensory issues and no self-care. This includes being potty trained.

There are days where I feel less like a mother and more like a personal care attendant.

I have entered uncharted territory with my special needs son.

I just put him on the bus. And by that I mean I physically handed his flailing, screaming body to the bus aide.

I am covered in sweat. I can feel the fresh bruises on my thighs. The pinch marks are visible on my upper arms. My face is beat red. My lip is fat from a swift head butt.

I smiled to his bus driver as he said, ‘tough morning?’ It took everything I could do to smile and nod and mutter, ‘you could say that.’

He gave me that look. Any parent that has been in the midst of an autism meltdown knows the look. It feels like pity. Typically it comes from a good place, but it still hurts.

I was embarrassed enough already. I felt disheveled and unsettled.

I was the mother to this little boy and I should be able to handle all that he can throw at me.

I mean….he is only six. But he is also nearing 65 pounds. He is strong. He is healthy. He is in way better shape than I am.

The second I turned to walk towards the house I burst into tears. I was able to choke them back long enough to turnaround and wave to my son.

Just like I do every single morning.

He needs to see my smile. He needs to know that mommy isn’t rattled. He needs to know that mommy is fine.

Except, just like the day before, I wasn’t fine. I was hurt and exhausted and confused.

As I waved I couldn’t help but think, ‘Why me?’ My hands were still shaking.

I knew I should hurry up and leave for work. I was already late. But I was rattled and crying and I looked terrible. I needed to quickly reapply my makeup but first I had to stop crying.

I refill my coffee cup for the 4th time that morning and take a quick peek in the mirror.

I didn’t even recognize myself. Bloodshot eyes with huge bags underneath.

My skin was pale. I see bruises on my upper arms. My roots are grown out not to mention greasy. I can’t shower when I am alone with my son.

He needs constant supervision.

I let myself go down the rabbit hole of feelings that accompany raising a child with severe autism.

The self-pity. The ‘why me’s’. The ‘this isn’t fairs.’ The ‘I can’t do this for the rest of my life.’

Let’s be clear here…I love my son more than I can put into words. He is my life. He is my purpose. He is my joy.

But, his care is sometimes more stressful than I know how to handle. We are entering a new world. He is getting older. He is getting bigger. And I am still the same size.

Caring for an upset and inconsolable infant is one thing. Caring for an upset 60 pound 6 year old amidst of an autism meltdown is different.

I am not scared of Coop yet. But I can see a glimpse into the future. Little boys turn into teens that turn into men.

I have heard of caregiver burnout and if you search the term you will see a theme. The term refers typically to caregivers that care for adults.

Caring for my son with severe special needs is a 24 hour a day job.

I also work full time. And yes, you could say he is in school for 8 hours a day. Well, much of my day is spent making phone calls, replying to emails and doing the business side of autism.

On top of that I am sick all the time. I catch every bug that goes around. I never feel rested. I never have a break. Even if I go out with friends or take a break I feel out of place. Or guilty.

Do you ever feel that way?

Here is a list of signs of Caregiver Burnout for Parents. If you are experiencing any of these you need to try and take a break. Find respite care. Call a friend or a family member to help.

Caregiver burnout is dangerous for you and your family.

1. Your emotions are like a roller coaster. Daily you experience a wide variety of emotions. You feel furious one minute, sad and helpless the next.

2. You are always sick and rundown. You can’t figure out why you catch every bug that is going around.

3. You consistently cancel or don’t make plans with anyone. If you do go you feel out of place or can’t turn off the worries about your child. No one can care for them as good as you can.

4. You know you should have hobbies, but you just don’t have the time. Frankly at this point you don’t even know what you like anymore. You struggle to self-identify.

5. Even though you are married you’re the go-to caregiver. Always. Your spouse helps of course but the sole responsibility falls on you. You have no babysitters. You have no respite.

6. Your self-care has gone downhill drastically. You joke about not having time to go to the doctor or dentist. How could you fit it in…what would you do with your child during the appointment.

7. You struggle to sleep, relax, or rest. Your mind is constantly on the child you care for.

The Lion King Sensory-Friendly Performance

“Hakuna Matata- what a wonderful phrase. It means no worries….”.

For many families living with autism, something as simple as going to a movie, or out for dinner can present challenges, filling families full of worry about the what-ifs. Fears about tantrums, meltdowns, yelling or humming and the responses from those in the community can at times, make options for family activities feel limited.

But we know how important it is for kids, and adults living with autism to engage in their community. To participate in the things that make Seattle so vibrant; our restaurants, art, music and theatre opportunities.

Recognizing the limited options for engagement with the arts that exist for individuals with autism and their families, the wonderful team at Seattle Theatre Group, Disney Theatrical Group, TDF and our community partners are proud to offer a sensory-friendly performance of Disney’s The Lion King for the first time in Seattle. On January 5th at 2 pm, the Paramount Theatre will be full of vibrant costumes, the spirit of the Lion King and up to 3000 individuals, families and friends living with autism spectrum disorders for a dynamic, engaging and sensory sensitive performance.

This show will be performed in a supportive and judgment-free environment for families and friends with Children’s or adults affected by autism and other developmental disabilities to enjoy the shared experience of live theatre.

This event is exclusive for members of the community who have a family member or friend on the autism spectrum, or in need of a sensory-friendly environment may purchase tickets for this performance. Slight adjustments will be made to the show and lobby to providing accommodations for a range of sensory need and sensitivities.

We are so grateful for this opportunity for our families and hope you all take advantage of this unique, and exciting opportunity.

Ticket prices range from $15-$50 and up to 9 tickets per order are allowed.

Purchase tickets at stgpresents.org/access

To purchase tickets in person; come to the Paramount Theatre (911 Pine Street) Monday – Friday 10:00am-6:00pm or call 206.682.1414


Article retrieved from: https://theautismblog.seattlechildrens.org/the-lion-king-sensory-friendly-performance/