Visiting Spain with Simon
Our annual holiday with Simon has come around and this year it’ll be a week away in Spain. Simon (unlike his alter ego in the ‘Simon goes to … ‘series – who busily saves the world from bad guys) enjoys lazing by the pool, splashing in the sea and – now he is older – a drink with his dad, Peter.
As with any parent, seeing your children grown up fills you with pride and wonder (for me -- that they survived my parenting). One incident in which I didn’t think we would survive occurred during a day trip to Alicante, with all of the family in the car. We drove around in circles looking for a parking spot, preferably in the shade as the temperature gauge in the car was touching 40 degrees. We found an underground parking area but once parked, we were unable to convince Simon to get out of the car. It was far too hot to stay in the car and I left Peter to cajole Simon out of the car, taking the other two boys with me in search of cold water and ice cream. When I returned a few minutes later, Peter had managed to get Si out of the car and was surrounded by a group of concerned citizens ready to lynch him. Simon was in the midst of a very physical melt down, however, as soon as Simon saw me with cold water and ice cream he regained his composure and quietly followed me out of the carpark where he sat down in a cool breeze enjoying his treat. Fortunately, the crowd dispersed, leaving Peter sweaty and frustrated, but in one piece.
We’re not the only parents who have witnessed melt downs nor in such a public place. It is a fact of life for most parents, but generally children grow out of them around four years of age. Parents of children with autism will experience these long after that and will have a number of tricks up their sleeves on how to deal with them, with varying levels of success. On this occasion we were successful in calming Simon down without too much fuss.
In ‘Simon goes to Spain’, Simon has a number of melt downs which he uses it to his advantage, once his sensory overload ceases. Melt-downs can’t be stopped but over time they can be reduced and with maturity the effects lessened.