We have moved a lot. No seriously, like 11 times in the 11 years we’ve been married. One perk to that is everyone in the family getting used to trying new things. Every move means finding the library, checking out new schools, introducing ourselves at church and discovering the local restaurants.
Some of these things can be fun, like exploring new library reading nooks and trying new menus. But with this comes the silent questions of if the locals are actually kid friendly or not. Let’s be real, not every community gym or kids section of the library has actually been “patient with kids”. It’s a shame but a reality.
So over the years my kids have watched me walk into new places with a smile on my face and with encouraging words to check out new spaces with confidence and courtesy. And if the staff hasn’t been responsive with their best behavior with tact or decorum my children have also been able to observe how I politely stand my ground and protect my children from uneducated buffoons.
I’m happy to report that so far we haven’t had any problems with 2 of our kids taking classes at our local YMCA. The wrestling club for our middle child has been another story that can be summed up as nothing short of false advertisement. However today’s post is about Mr. L trying a new thing at our community Y.
Mr. L has courageously agreed to trying out a swim class without his little brother by his side. Instead we decided to let this be a father and son experience and the first class was a roaring success! Not only did my autistic son wait patiently for his class to begin, he enthusiastically got in the water, followed along with the class, and actually did better then kids in the class higher up then he was in.
The only thing that kept him from testing higher was his delays in communication. Mr. L was hesitant to do what was asked of him because he wasn’t always sure what was being asked of him. If you know my son, you know by now that he has high anxiety levels when it comes to misunderstanding someone and getting the “social rule” wrong.
However once he knew what his coaches wanted, he could do it easily. Because some of the things they wanted to teach, he has been doing for a few years on his own for fun. Needless to say, Mr. L was learning a few different things then his peers in class. Instead of learning how to put his head under water and blowing out bubbles, he was learning social cues; like how to watch his peers and to do things with good timing after the coach demonstrated. You know, the things neurotypical kids do effortlessly.
From what I gathered second hand from my husband, Mr. L was attentive, focused, and thoroughly enjoyed the whole experience. That is a huge win in our book any day 🏆
Now can I just take a minute to write about how amazing my husband is and how lucky I am to have him in my life? Not only was he willing to take our kiddo with special needs to a swim class by himself on a Saturday morning… He wanted to! This husband of mine was excited to do it and is excited to do it again for the rest of the session.
But there is another layer to his love for our children, he knew there was a chance Mr. L might need extra assistance, in view of the fact that we just never know! Because this was a new pool, a new class, new coaches and peers, we didn’t know how loud the room would be or how Mr. L would respond… So Mr. handsome husband volunteered to bring his swimsuit along just in case the staff wanted an extra hand for our child.
In fact Mr. handsome husband was more then happy to bring his swimsuit and towel to be a backup plan and support for our son to succeed. Over the years he has gotten exemplary at trying to think ahead of what our kids might need and what obstacles might be tricky for autism to handle. He has learned to bring the headphones and to check the menu before even driving to a restaurant.
These efforts are not only nice in avoiding meltdowns, but it takes an emotional load off my mind knowing I have a teammate who wants to ease the stress of attempting happy outings. Knowing he has my back boosts my confidence in taking my kids out into this crazy and sometimes less then caring world. I just hope he knows how much I appreciate his efforts in helping our kids become caring, responsible adults.
So to sum up today’s post… After I took the kids for a tour of our local YMCA and signed Mr. L up for a swim class, Mr. Husband took Mr. L out for a new experience/class and it was a big hit ☺️