One of the biggest expenses our family has invested in over the years is season passes to Six Flags. As a child, I only went there a few times. My husband, however, found himself there much more often. With him having a Halloween birthday, Fright Fest is a must this time of year! Today was our first attempt at a daytime fright fest adventure to six flags with an autistic child. Even as quote “normal” adults, we get a sensory overload now and again. As a little man whose main sensory issues are visual and hearing, a busy six flags is an interesting adventure, to say the least!
Today, we came prepared. Inside his bag came his sensory brush, noise-canceling headphones, drinks, and food he liked. We planned to come here primarily for the train ride and endless pumpkins, his two favorite items worldwide.
After a long van ride and nap, we arrived with a well-rested group of kiddos. We made our way to the train station, only to find we missed the train by just minutes. As we promised him a train ride, we stayed put and waited for the train to make it back around the park. After a long and restless wait, we could finally board the train. His excitement was short-lived, however. The train was noisy, and they were having technical issues with the radio.
No longer is the train a spooky ride this time of year. However, the music normally played during such times kept trying to come on through the speakers. Besides the spooky factor, it was quite loud! So we got him to put on his headphones, used his sensory brush, and the rest of the wait on the train went fine. The radio was finally fixed, and away we went! Man, was this exciting for him! He kept his headphones on most of the train ride and had the biggest smile! To top it off, this was his longest time with his headphones on.
This might not be very exciting to many, but this was an awesome milestone for us. Becoming comfortable with his resources will help make things more “normal” for him. We want to ensure he feels no different from our other children. So any little bit helps. It doesn’t hurt that he’s got three goofy sisters with their own issues. So, there really isn’t a “normal” person in our family, mommy and daddy included!
Being prepared made this a nice trip. We went into it knowing there wouldn’t be many rides, and we had to pace ourselves. He loved the playground, diving down the tube slide every chance he got. Going through the hay maze was a blast for him too! He had quite a fun trip, even despite the noise and crowds. A few times, he covered his ears, even with the headphones on, but it wasn’t too bad. Other than that, he had quite an exciting adventure!
Sensory overloads can happen anywhere. Knowing places that are more likely to occur helps lessen the impact. Just as you wouldn’t leave the house without diapers and wipes, you don’t leave the house without the right tools. Everyone has different techniques that work best for them. It’s about finding what works for your child.
As of now, there is no cure for Autism. Just like many other disorders out there, it’s all about mindset. It’s making the sensory overload less when possible—having patience, understanding, and good humor. Laughter is truly the best medicine for all of life’s ailments. It’s all about finding happiness every day: happiness and Love.