The familiar holiday question has been asked every morning as soon as our youngest son wakes up 'is it school today?' He has no concept of time. We have given him a whiteboard which he writes the number of sleeps until he returns to school each day, but he doesn't seem to retain the information and so each day we go through the process several times.
The first week of the holidays has gone quickly and we've filled it with having friends over to play and Nanny has been to stay. We went to Wrest Park, a local English Heritage place to visit and met up with some friends. The kids had a lovely time running about in an open space, rolling down a slope and climbing trees. There is a huge tree in the grounds with branches that touch the grass. The kids can hide inside the branches and our youngest son found this to be the ideal place to overcome his selective mutism which flared up as he was out in public and he's never comfortable being around lots of unknown people. He was happy to chat to our friends in there as he couldn't see any of the adults on the outside.
One of the favourite activities the kids have completed this week is to clean all the garden toys. The water and sand table has then been turned into dinosaur world by our youngest son. He has hatched a toy dinosaur from an egg and watched it grow in water. He has now built it a home with water, rocks and leaves as food. He assures us it is not a carnivore!! We are going to buy some sand for the other half of the table so that he can make dinosaur footprints and build it a cave. Dinosaurs are one of his passions and playing like this gives him lots of tactile sensory experiences and a way for him to explore his imagination. This is not a skill that comes easy to someone with ASD.
Sometimes it is the simple things in life like playing with nature that offer our children the most amount of fun and it also helps with sensory processing difficulties, as these activities offer sensory input in many forms which can help to calm challenging behaviour that children with ASD are prone to present. In today's world of electrical devices, it is easy to forget the old fashioned fun that we enjoyed as kids and the benefits it can offer. As a parent I notice all our children are calmer and more relaxed in the summer months when they can go outside and run off their energy, so we will make the most of the sunshine and be active.