Like most people with Autism, Max likes his routine. Correction – he needs his routine, in fact he clings to it. He seems to have an inner clock that knows when it is time to leave for daycare and when his therapy session should be completed.If you turn left at the lights, it means we are going to the store, if you turn right it means we are going to the park. When you deviate from these norms, it can be very hard for him to manage. Every time we make a change to Max’s schedule or environment, it takes him weeks to settle back in, to absorb this new activity as the new norm. We have dreams of taking Max on family vacations, but first we have to work on his ability to adapt to new situations so that he can actually enjoy going on a trip.
This summer we have been pushing Max’s boundaries and exposing him to new experiences. He has gone to Marineland and the Toronto Zoo with his respite worker, Kailee. Marineland was a hit, but the zoo was a bust. Part of the success of Marineland was the fact that there were rides, kid friendly activities like the underwater aquarium and the weather wasn’t too hot. The zoo didn’t work out as well because the exhibits were too far apart, it was really crowded, and the weather that day was hot and humid. All of these factors have to be taken into consideration when trying to plan a future trip for Max that will be manageable for him (and us). Having his respite worker take him is also good as it gives my husband and I a bit of a break and Max seems to be willing to do things with Kailee that he won’t do for us (a typical kid trait). Kailee was kind enough to shoot this video for us of Max at Marineland so we could see all of the things he did. And yes, the screaming kid on the rollercoaster is Max!