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February 2012
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By Laurilee McMichael

6:00 AM Wednesday Feb 8, 2012


A tropical family holiday with an autistic child can be successful if you plan ahead, writes Laurilee McMichael.


The minute the cat went into the box, the cat was out of the bag.


“Why is Skittles in the box?” asked 9-year-old Hamish, eyeing the box suspiciously.


“She’s going to the cattery,” I answered, hastily stowing the box and its yowling contents in the car.


“Why’s she going to the cattery?” he asked, even more suspiciously.


“Because …” I answered, taking a deep breath and steeling myself.


“Because … tomorrow we’re going to Fiji.”


“Arrrrrgh! I don’t want to go to Fiji! Arrrrgh!”


And this, with variations, and even a few tears, was what I got for the rest of the day. Reasoning was futile.


“I hate Fiji. Fiji’s stupid. Arrrgh …” And so on, for hours on end.


Hamish, who has Asperger’s syndrome and severe ADHD, hates the idea of change and new things. Even thinking about going somewhere different makes him anxious. So much so that my husband Jarrod and I kept the Fiji trip quiet for two months to avoid him becoming stressed about it.


We also crossed our fingers and hoped that once there, he’d love it.


With Hamish in mind, we’d carefully planned ahead, because one of the really fun things about Asperger’s and autism is that anything unexpected or negative can trigger a screaming meltdown of mammoth proportions, usually guaranteed to attract a crowd of tut-tutting onlookers.


Read More …

http://www.nzherald.co.nz/travel/news/article.cfm?c_id=7&objectid=10783610&ref=rss

 



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