Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Going Solo

Magazine article The Exceptional Parent

Going Solo

Article excerpt

To the casual onlooker it was not a remarkable scene. A middle-aged mom trudging through the rain, huge beach bag slung precariously over her shoulder while clutching the hands of a 'tween and a younger son, heading for the relative paradise of a movie theater overhang. If anyone had cared to look they would have viewed a grim determination in her eyes, a desire to reach her destination etched into the lines on her face. Someone might have wondered why she looked so serious, as it was just a day at the movies after all.

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Except, it wasn't simply that.

It was the first time she'd ever taken both her autistic kids on an outing, solo.

I'm aware that taking two or more kids to run errands or attend an event is not a rare occurrence in neurotypical world, and to some extent not in the world of autism either. Trust me, my reticence in bringing both boys out on my own was not due to a lack of desire, but rather due to a need to keep both of them safe.

For the last few years Justin has often refused to remain in even the most entertaining locations for more than half an hour and, until now, brokering deals with my younger son about leaving places early was simply not in the cards. Also, both are impulsive and had a tendency to try to run away if annoyed (or in Justin's case, if he'd sensed a carbohydrate was nearby.) It just wasn't safe for us to venture out on our own, so either I'd corral someone to go with me, or we'd stay home. Since I'm an out-andabout girl, this situation did not sit well with me, and I longed for the day we'd brave the wilds of the world, just the three of us.

Finally, that day has come.

I was able to make a deal with Zach that if Justin wanted to leave the movie early we'd do so, but that he'd get to view it again at another date. I explained to him that he had to stay at my side at all times as well, and he comprehended both points, and promised to comply. I've worked diligently with the assistance of a BCBA to get Justin to the point where he can attend an entire film, so I felt confident we had a shot of pulling this off.

Plus, I took them to AMC's showing of the "autism movie," where almost any type of behavior goes. I was not taking any chances.

I have to share with all of you that they were excellent. …

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