When Dominic was really little, the only place I took him out on a regular basis was the grocery store. I would put him in the front part of the cart, strap him in and pray he didn't try to stand up or cry too much.
I was always afraid people would know that he had Autism and stare at us. I would work myself up into a flap and then Dominic would pick up on my anxiety. If Lauren was with us, I would bark at her to help me more, and I usually would almost be in tears. Those days were pretty rough.
Cathy is a homemaker/wife and also mom to a second grade son with special needs, a teenage daughter and a stepmom to an adult son. Originally from the East Coast, Cathy has lived in the Midwest for close to a decade. She hopes to use her life experiences to help and inspire others and to put a smile on their face if only just for a moment!
As I got more confident, we started taking him out to restaurants. We relied on a Game Boy or Nintendo DS handheld to keep him distracted. His teachers at school have done a great job with him and have taught him to stay seated when he is supposed to. Dominic has gone bowling a few times with his classmates and it was reported back to me that he did pretty well.
In the Fall of 2011, we started bowling with some other families through a Special Needs Ministry at a neighboring church. I had known about this group for a few years, but always came up with an excuse not to go, because I was really nervous about taking him to the bowling alley, thinking he would act up. The age range in this group is varied and all of the families have one or more family members with disabilities. It has been a wonderful experience for our ENTIRE family and we are planning on becoming long term members of the group.
During Spring Break of 2012, we went to a resort. The only other time we have flown with Dominic was to Arizona when he hadn't been diagnosed yet with Autism. It was an exhausting trip and made me leery of ever going on a plane again with him. It really didn't seem fair to the hubby and my daughter not to go on another plane trip, just because I was nervous about it.
We decided to go to Jamaica and found a direct flight from an airport close to our house. We prepared Dominic about it, but I tried not to over talk it! He did great on the plane ride and at the resort. Our entire family had a wonderful time. If you have a child with special needs, go out, don't worry about what people will say or how they look at you. Just smile and remember if they have issues with how your child acts, it's their problem, not yours!!!!
To read more from Cathy, visit bountifulplate.blogspot.com
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