Spring Break with an Autistic Teenager
This year’s spring break was active for us—especially since I have a teenager.
Not that autism (for us, anyway) has everything to do with what activities we plan to do during spring break. Still, we don’t want our son with autism spending every free day playing video games.
What did we do for spring break?
Ever since I have known my husband, we have ventured to Arizona during the spring to watch spring training baseball games. My husband began this tradition in the late 80’s, and I began in 2001. The only time we missed a trip was the year (2003) when we had our son.
It used to be easier to go to Arizona during this time because, when our son was little, we didn’t worry about him missing school.
Even when he was in fourth or fifth grade, we were okay with a day or two off to go on a trip.
However, when he got into sixth grade and beyond, we began to adjust our yearly Arizona trips.
The new routine
Our new routine is we leave on the Friday right before spring break (right after school lets out) and drive to Arizona. We stay until late Monday or early Tuesday. We don’t need to get our son back for school, but we don’t stay any longer than that because of my husband’s work.
This gives my son and I the rest of the week to do things together.
What did we do after Arizona?
Since we have a membership to Universal Studios (Hollywood), my son and I go there for a few hours.
Our typical routine when we go to Universal is to show up around the time it opens and stay until around two or three o’clock. By that time, my son has had enough of crowds and rides.
We also usually go with another mom and her son, but this time they weren’t available.
At Universal, my son knows which rides he likes and which ones he doesn’t.
For example, he will typically ride rollercoasters. This time he rode the new one in the Harry Potter section, but he doesn’t like the one on the lower level because it has tunnels and it’s dark. He likes roller coasters that are open and not dark. (FYI, I don’t like any rides, so my son will go alone or with his dad or a buddy. Just not me!)
By the time we got home from Universal, our nephew had arrived at our house. My husband, son, and nephew were all going to the World Baseball Classic final game at Dodger Stadium that night. My son enjoyed the game a lot, especially because the USA played in it and they won!
What other activities did we do?
That Friday, my son and I drove out to Big Bear Lake, which is about two hours east of us. This is a location that I have wanted to go to for years, and we finally made it.
My son brought his sledding stuff, but there wasn’t enough snow for sledding. So, we ended up making it a bit of a scouting expedition, kind of figuring out what we wanted to do for next time.
The highlight of the trip was my son got a big kick out of taking me to the camp grounds he visited with his sixth grade class.
He enjoyed being a tour guide around the camp.
The weekend was filled with my son going to his Teen Club meeting and then hanging out at home.
On Sunday, he drafted his fantasy baseball team. (More on this in a later blog)
On Monday, I drove him down to Santa Ana so he could participate in his first Smash tournament. (More of this as well in a later blog).
Overall, how was his break?
Very successful, I think.
Key for me is that there were no behaviors issues. Even when we drove around Tempe, Arizona trying to find ice cream for him, he ended up compromising on a milkshake instead. (The only place we could find open was an In & Out Burger).
Going to Universal was a routine thing, and the Big Bear Lake trip was beautiful and relaxing. We brought a packed lunch and then took a long walk (my son rode his Razor).
My son is usually pretty content when he’s in a mountainous area. He loves the mountains, it gives him a sense of peace, I suppose. It works for him.
As long as my son isn’t in front of a device or a computer or a TV for the entire week. We balanced in a bunch of familiar activities with a few newbies. It was fun. Spring Break with an Autistic Teenager. Spring Break with an Autistic Teenager
Here’s an article with more about vacationing with your autistic kids:
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