Outside Adventures

Families, teachers, and others who care about the well-being of individuals with autism frequently ask for ideas to help prevent isolation. Challenges like loud outbursts, aggressive behaviors, repetitive mannerisms, and meltdowns can make folks hesitate to get out in public. Sometimes it is just easier to just stay at home to keep the peace. The downside to that decision is isolation for our friends with autism as well as for folks in their care network. One way to decrease seclusion and detachment from society is to get outside!

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Wide open spaces allow for loud noises and provide a safe cover of anonymity for our friends who may unusual mannerisms. Getting outside also impacts physical health and emotional well-being. So, get up and get going!

1. Take a Trek. Walk or bike in the park, around the block, or just to the end of the driveway.
2. Around the House. Put a swing in the backyard or on the front porch. Go outside every day to feed the dog, put water in the birdbath, pick a tomato out of the garden, or pick up the newspaper. Lie on a blanket in the back yard to look at clouds or the stars.
3. Easy Sports. Play informal rounds of kickball, t-ball, tether ball or badminton. Shoot some hoops. Toss some horseshoes. Set up an outdoor obstacle course or play follow the leader.
4. In the Park. Go fly a kite. Enjoy an outdoor picnic or snack. Look through binoculars for birds or trees or cars driving by. Pick up litter.
5. Pick Your Own. Locate a local apple orchard, strawberry patch, or pecan orchard that allows “Pick Your Own” harvesting.
6. Explore. Take a trip to the zoo, to outdoor garden centers, to metropolitan areas, to drive-through nature centers, to state parks, to outdoor historical areas, or to a roadside park looking across miles of landscape.
7. Outdoor events. If your friend can tolerate anonymous crowds, take time to enjoy car shows, outdoor flea markets, outdoor arts festivals, county fairs, metropolitan parks or outdoor exhibits, rides on the metro, parades, firework displays, air shows, car races, and other events where folks can walk around freely.
8. Find water. One of the most universally enjoyable environments for all human beings is water – beach, lake, river, pool.

Be creative. Get outside. Don’t hesitate. Just do it. And send us your ideas. Just click on the comments button or send a message to talk@FAQautism.com

NOTE TO READERS AND LISTENERS: 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. Feel free to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solution. Send email to talk@FAQautism.com And don’t forget to check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. http://FAQautism.com

Published on: May 5, 2008

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