My name is Mara Fritts, and I am currently on the Board of Directors for the Autism Women’s Network. I have Aspergers and ADHD, and I am married to a fellow Aspie.We are the proud parents of four wonderful children: Julian, a ten-year-old, Asher, a seven-year-old, Xander, a four-year-old, and Violet, who is two. Our three boys all have Asperger/s, and our daughter Violet has not been diagnosed yet.
We homeschool all of our children since I believe in allowing them to choose what they are learning for the day. Allowing them to find what interests them and letting them follow their heart brings new meaning to our lessons and is essential to their overall development.With that said, I believe that all children need structure, just not all the time.
When we travel, we pack all our essentials which are extra clothing (a must even for our ten-year-old), snacks since ’empty tummies cause wars’, and plenty of toys.
But the most important thing when planning any outing is to have a plan A, a backup plan B, and a backup of the actual backup plan which would be plan C!
We need to consider carefully where we are going, how long we will be staying there, and what we would be doing there since bored kids is never a good idea.
We are flexible and always allow some straying from our original plan, but we have to make sure that the changes don’t end up overwhelming our kids.
There have been several occasions when were invited to stay overnight at a friend’s house but had to decline we needed to consider our children’s individual needs. Our kids react adversely to If anything that is out of routine or place, especially Xander, and when that happens, he might experience a complete ‘shutdown’ which would pretty much end our evening.
One of our biggest challenges so far is that someone must always watch over Xander since he tends to wander off and go exploring this big exciting world on his own. In fact, Xander needs his own shadow or ‘buddy’ as we call him or her, to make any day out successful! That restricts some of our outings and needless to mention, one parent taking all the kids out at once is a No-No in our home.
Overall, we enjoy outings with our kids and visiting friends and family, but we have to keep it simple so they won’t get over stimulated, at least for now.