August 21, 2016

Special Needs Day the the Fair: Volume 2


Brandon turned five yesterday!  We celebrated by going to Special Needs Day at the fair.  

We joked that they threw a fair just for his birthday!  My sister's birthday is on July 4th, and for the longest time she believed that every year the fireworks we went and watched at the lake were for her birthday!

We went to the fair last year and we had a great time.  We had no major meltdowns last year, but he did have trouble waiting in line and having to get off the rides when they stopped.  Since then we have been to Dollywood and Disney World, so going to the fair this year was not nerve-wracking.  He knows the theme-park drill for the most part.

I'm in awe of Brandon's progression in the last year.  It still feels slow moving, and while annual events can be a heartbreaking reminder, they can also help to keep that progress in perspective.

This year the lines were shorter, but he stood an waited his turn with no issue.  We walked around the fair and Brandon barely needed the stroller.  The deal with the stroller is not so much that he gets tired of walking, but it's a secure place he can be buckled in when he is feeling overwhelmed by his surroundings.  He will go to the stroller or "ask" to be picked up by putting his arms up and climbing up my body like I'm a tree.  He does this in a panicky way, almost like he is scared or very nervous.  When we were walking around, there were large chunks of time where I didn't even hold his hand.  He walked by my side, and once when he start to gallop off instead of running after him (which is my usual reaction) I just said, "Stop!"  And guess what...he ACTUALLY STOPPED!  And he stood and waited for me to catch up to him.

I even let Brandon go on some rides with his cousin who is typically developing and about a year older than Brandon.  There were some rides that were for children only - moms and dads were not allowed on.  Last year I would have said, "Hell no he cannot go on a ride without one of us." If he wanted off that ride while it was in mid-swing, he could just jump right out if he really wanted to.  This year I trusted his understanding to stay on the ride.  There was just one kiddie roller coaster that I said he couldn't go on again without me because I thought I was going to throw up, I was so nervous that he would jump out.  Right before it took off, I told my nephew that if Brandon was trying to get out to hold his arm as tight as he could...even if it hurt him.  That is WAY too much pressure to put on a little kid.  Mommy/aunt mistake, there.  I was a nervous wreck on that one!  The rest of the rides were so tame that I wasn't worried.

This is the ride I'm talking about.  See how the bar doesn't go down on their laps?  There was a seatbelt...but still.  If Brandon really wanted to, he could unbuckle that seatbelt and hop out. I know I sound paranoid.  But when you have a five-year-old child who is so developmentally delayed, you can't assume that reasoning is there...especially if he is in panic mode.



Here are some more pictures of our day at the fair!











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