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Check out these fun outings for children with autism

October 21, 2018

Children with autism tend to feel uncomfortable in social situations. However that should not come in the way of exploring and learning new things. Experts believe that the more they venture out and meet new people, the better it is for their overall development and well-being.

Many parents strongly agree and look for ways to expose their kids to a range of different activities.

Like Vijaya Gomathi, who is a Member, with the Special Child Assistance Network (SCAN), which is a network of parents with children with disabilities in Chennai. She has a 16-year-old son with autism, who is non-verbal.

I prefer taking him to places where he can enjoy visual beauty. He loves exploring new places. Before taking him to a new place I show him photographs of the place. He relates only to photographs, not even cartoon images! So for instance, if I am taking him to a mall, I show him detailed photographs of the mall. He gets a brief idea of where he is headed to. - Vijaya Gomathi, Autism parent

Many other parents we spoke to regularly take their kids for movies and to parks. They feel that short outings like these have a therapeutic effect on the child. So, what are some of the fun places you can visit.

  • Theme parks - India has many theme parks and kids with autism can have a good time here provided parents check the place out and find the right kind of rides. Also remember to plan your visit at a time when the park is not crowded. This means early in the day would work better. So, do some research and prepare your child.
  • Beaches - Want to spend some time outdoors for a day? Nothing to beat beaches! You might have to take a couple of hours to get there but a visit to the beach can be quite therapeutic.
  • Movie theatres - If you child loves art and cinema, a trip to the theatre might be a good outing. Again, opt for show timings where the crowd is less. Give them instructions beforehand so they know what to expect.
  • Parks - A stroll in a park is a lovely way to spend time together and many cities in India now have accessible parks with sensory corners.

Grace Santosh, a Chennai-based psychologist, has a 15-year-old son with autism, who loves outings to the park.

"From a very young age, my son Daniel loves parks. He loves swinging. Even now when he is 15, he still loves to swing. People around him sometimes makes fun of him but I ignore that. I just want him to enjoy every bit of what he does. We live in Chennai, and I wish we had an exclusive park for children with disabilities", says Grace.

Well, Grace's wishes are soon going to come true as Chennai municipal authorities have announced that they plan to set up an accessible park in Santhome by the middle of next year.

ALSO READ: Cycling for children with autism, some information

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