So, one of the reasons that half term was crazy was because we met up with a lovely local ASD support group.
The first session was at a local(ish!) soft play palace. The group had exclusive use, and it was an evening session, with all height / age restrictions removed.
I have no idea how many children were there, but we took M, J and A. It is one of the few times we've been somewhere like this and not had issues with other children, or complaints about ours.
The feeling of acceptance was overwhelming, I was able to relax and not worry. My husband and I had a coffee / hot choc and a natter. It was lovely :)
The kids had fun too - they all made friends, and there was a mass game of freeze tag going on up in the netting.
We met the same group at the end of the week too - to go bowling. Again it was an exclusive use, which helped a lot!
Bowling is awkward for us - there is such a spread of ages - 14 down to 6 - and abilities that the scores are always well spread. Seeing them all up on the screen it is very hard to encourage J and M not to compare and compete.
We often have upsets because one feels useless compared to the others, or someone decides to try and beat their Dad's score . . . and this session was no different really.
Because we are mad (!) we went from the bowling alley to do a very quick bit of shopping (two things!!) and then on to a home ed Roller Skating session. A made a new friend there, which was lovely, but M caused a bit of an issue :(
Often when we've been before the main lights are off and disco lights are on. This time the hall was lit by the main lights, so once he had his skates on M went to ask the leisure centre staff to switch the lights off. I hadn't noticed that he had gone, because I was still helping A get her skates sorted. Suddenly the hall went dark - the disco lights weren't on, and now neither were the main lights . . .
There were already people skating, and now it was very *very* dark.
Someone hurried off to find out what was going on, and M came back. We were then told that the main lights take at least TEN minutes to warm up and come on. The disco lights came on, but they weren't very bright and a lot of the bulbs seem to have been blown. So for the next eternity (or so it seemed) the kids skated in semi-darkness. Eventually the lights came on, slowly, but how daft!
It's nice to know that M feels confident enough to go and ask random adults to do things, not so sure about the staff switching all the lights off without checking . . .
The craziness continued, as when we got home L had a friend visit, then M went out to chess club, J to a social club and A to visit some friends . . .
Pretty indicative of our terribly isolated (!) children's lives really.