Once the Christmas festivities are over, it can be challenging to find enjoyable, inexpensive ways to keep our youngsters occupied for the remainder of the holiday break. One idea that has brought lots of joy to families and individuals of all ages with autism is piling in the car and exploring the local landscape. The trip can last 30 minutes or three hours. The goal is to bust up the monotony of the long holiday break while instilling a sense of adventure.
Just pile everyone in the car and drive around the neighborhood, a drive through a new part of town, or take a tour of holiday lights. You can even embark on a longer adventure without too much trouble or expense. Here’s the plan: + Gather your youngster with autism as well as other family members or friends around the kitchen table with a local map.+ Work together to draw out a route to explore some country roads nearby. + When you are ready to start your adventure, pack up some healthy snacks and water bottles. + Take a pair of inexpensive binoculars for each youngster. + Don’t forget to take your camera. + Load up the car (don’t forget the map!) + Take off and enjoy the ride!+ Let your youngster with autism sit in the front passenger seat and, if she is able, let her be the navigator. + Take a picture of the whole crowd (holding the map) at each of the key points marked on the map. + Stop at safe lookout points and encourage youngsters to look at scenery, airplanes, or wildflowers through binoculars. + If your youngster with autism is able to do so, have him keep a scorecard of the number of cows or the number of 18-wheeler trucks or the number of motorcycles you pass. + If you go on a longer trip, you can play the alphabet game by finding words that start with consecutive letters of the alphabet on roadside signs. + You can sing rowdy verses of “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” or other family favorites while traveling down the road. + The idea is to encourage interaction between fellow travelers and to encourage everyone to pay attention to the passing scenery.
Remember, your adventure on wheels does not need to be complicated or long. Even a 30 minute drive can be an adventure – just drive down to the shore of a local lake or river or drive down a country road you’ve never seen before. Enjoy your adventures on wheels, and enjoy your holidays. Our next podcast will be on December 28. Meanwhile, click on FAQautism.com to find a wealth of practical tips and ideas.
Note to FAQautism.com listeners and readers: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. You can click on a button to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solutions. Check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. HYPERLINK “http://FAQautism.com” www.FAQautism.com