Yesterday we attended “My Day to Play” at the Maine Discovery Museum. It’s an event held especially for children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and their families and you guys? It was awesome.
We have been visiting the MDM since the girls were teenie-tiny. See that picture up there of Hal on the turtle? I have pictures of her on that same turtle when she was so little her legs jutted straight out to the sides of his shell when she sat on him. We would go and spend hours wandering around and both girls had their favorite areas. But as Hal’s needs became greater, we had to stop going as often.
Like so many children with ASD, Hallee doesn’t do loud noises. She doesn’t like being touched, jostled or crowded. She can’t take the sounds of little kids screeching or babies crying for very long. She becomes so focused on going into herself to escape the chaos, the trip is wasted.
Admission for the event was $4.50 for our whole family of four, which is amazing. Typically the admission to get in to the museum is $7.50 per person (children under 12 months free) and with the 3 of us girls, that’s $22.50. So shell out $22.50 only to have to leave an hour later because your autistic child is beginning to show real distress over the noise and crowd. And don’t forget that you also now have to deal with a very upset NT (neuro-typical) little sister who is unfairly getting yanked out of a much anticipated activity practically before we get there. Again.
The My Day to Play afternoons put on by the MDM are the perfect answer for a family like mine. They have special activities geared towards kids with sensory issues. Quiet areas to play and discover. I think there was a total of 3 families there besides ours. Hallee & Mad could split up, go see the areas they loved best, and it was QUIET. There were many wonderful volunteers (Thank you Rosalyn & Sung) who really GET kids like Hallee and want them to enjoy themselves.
There was time to sit and visit with some of the animal friends who live at the MDM. Amongst them were a corn snake, bearded dragon, something else little and crawly that I can’t remember, Madagascar hissing cockroaches and hermit crabs. The kids are encouraged to hold and pet the critters, which for some is great..for some not so much. Mark, who is not a snake fan, took Hallee upstairs for this part of the evening, but Mad loved it.
This took a lot of effort on MDM’s part and I hope that other families in and around Bangor will take advantage of these events. The next one will be on March 23rd from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. It’s a great chance to let our kids just be….kids.