Every August we venture off to The Ohio State Fair… but let’s face it, this is not the ideal outing for a child with sensory issues. The loud noises, mobs of people, toxic food, and carnies are enough to make a nuerotypical person get on edge… but throw autism, specialized diets, and language deficits into the mix and you may just have a recipe for disaster.
But, not this year… maybe we are better equipped with preparing her for such an outing with deep pressure stimulation, packed snacks, sharing social stories based on what to expect, and of course allowing the girls to feel in control of the day. Maybe… it was because there were less people in attendance on this day, no lines for rides, and a breeze to take the edge off of the summer heat. Or maybe…. she is getting well and better able to handle the stimulation. I suppose it was most likely a combination of all of these factors.
Regardless, this year’s visit to the fair was our best to date; laughter, companionship, and good ol’ fashion fun.
This year we were able to ride on more rides… partly because she is older, partly because she found them either soothing or exhilarating and mostly because she didn’t attempt to crawl out of the flimsy seatbelts. Of course, after the 4th time of climbing the 166 steps to get to the top of the ‘big yellow slide’, I realized nothing was going to stop this kid or her sister. That is probably when we realized that our girls were capable of accompanying each other on the rides… allowing mommy and daddy to stand off to the side basking in the joy of their children sharing a moment of sisterhood.
Let’s not forget about the animals… which they both indulged; especially at the birthing center. (Yes, the young twin lambs even won my heart.) At one moment Sahara was completely captured by Elsie the Borden’s Butter Cow. Every time she rubbed Elsie’s head, Elsie would moo loudly. The timing was impeccable and gave Sahara the conclusion that Elsie’s moo was caused by the effect of her rubbing her—another moment of cognitive clarity that made me smile.
Daddy took Emily over to the adult rides and she got to experience her first rollercoaster… I am certain this fed her need for excitement and her never ending need for sensory input as well. When they returned she had a smile larger than life. I am sure they had a father-daughter moment that she would retain in the recess of her childhood memories.
While they were off having this moment together, I had a moment of my own… on the carrousel mounted on my own horse (another milestone achieved) I looked over and saw a 5 year old enjoying an age appropriate activity and saw a glimpse of her normalcy. Reclaiming her childhood has been one focus of ours, and The Ohio State Fair allowed us to see our hard work pay off!