December 30, 2023

Autism, Family Rhythms and Planning for Fun 

Myrtle Beach Area Services

Rhythms.  Everyone and every family have them.

For some families, especially those with autism, these can change from day-to-day.  Like the ocean.  One day it can be calm and flat and the rhythms of the waves are gentle and lapping.

Other days it can be choppy with waves crashing, relentlessly and coming at you sideways.

We can hope for the best but are always planning, thinking, ruminating on what could or might happen, praying that those thoughts do not manifest themselves into reality, but knowing we will handle it regardless.

As we plan two amazing weekend-long experiences—one for families, the other for moms—start to plan. 

For the Sensory Friendly Family Fun Weekend, review the accommodations and schedule. And think about your concerns.

What are they?

  1. Is this your first time, or has it been a long time since going away?
  2. Is it fear of judgement?
  3. Food?
  4. Is the schedule too much?
  5. Money?

What brings you joy, hope or excitement?

            Going to the beach?

            A great deal on an autism ready resort with an indoor water park and exceptional rates?

            5 supported experiences?

            Having special moments as a family unit?

So, to address the concerns above, we’ve got your back on 1, 2, 3 and 4.  #5 only you can answer. 

  1. We have been curating an autism aware environment with autism aware and trained resorts, activities providers, restaurants and attractions since 2016. 
  2. In addition to training businesses, we have a robust presence in the community, speaking to groups about autism, urging all to reduce judgement.  Additionally, we have 8 Public Service Announcements played on TV to educate the public.  Hundreds of families with autism have come to the Myrtle Beach area, trusting us to be true to our word, and enjoyed an amazing experience.
  3. We have provided autism awareness and readiness training for many restaurants.  Some may not have gluten-free or other dietary options, but they are all OK with you bringing in special food if necessary. 
  4. The cool thing about what we do, is it is up to you and your family what you can tolerate.  AND to know that everyone at the events “gets it” and you don’t have to stay the whole time.
  5. Start saving now and #ComePlayWithUs®

This is why not only knowing, but documenting your family’s rhythms is so important. 

Zoom out to the 30,000-foot view.

For my family, when I zoomed out, I realized my son wakes up at 6:30am, comes out of his room at 7am and leaves for work at 7:30.  Wanting to have some time with him, I try to get my walk or work in by 7am or plan to do it after 7:30.  Additionally, I have a better grasp on his tolerance level.  This is important when it comes to family dinners and functions.  It requires a light touch, small nudges and reminders.  This is just a couple of examples about our rhythms.  My husband and I have ours too.

So, dream and scheme about coming to the family weekend January 26-28.

Sensory Friendly Family Fun Weekend!!

Now you’ve started to think about your family’s rhythms to better handle the Family Fun Weekend.  Taking notes (I’ve attached our Vacation Planning Guide) about rhythms, likes, dislikes, etc.  This exercise is the training wheels for the BIGGER deal—

The Mom’s Connections Conference in Myrtle Beach February 9-11.

Moms—you NEED this!

Yes, it is OK to choose you!

Your concerns; what are they?

  1. Leaving your family?
  2. Asking for help from your tribe to facilitate this much needed respite and experience?
  3. Fear of judgement from those you’re asking?
  4. The amount of work involved to get all needs, meals, rides and other duties covered while you’re away (not to mention house cleaning, etc.)?
  5. Being with a bunch of strangers?
  6. Money?

What brings you joy, hope or excitement when you think of this opportunity?

  1. Going to the beach?
  2. A great deal on a girl’s getaway?
  3. Being with other moms who get it?
  4. Doing something for yourself?
  5. Trying something new?
  6. Learning from the speakers and others?
  7. Being recognized for the rockstar goddess that you are?

So, for the concerns, I can help with 1 through 5. 

#1–Leaving your family is NEVER easy and typically when you do there is a lot of time spent thinking of them while you’re away.  Kind of like leaving your phone at home (or even out of reach in the backseat while driving), it is like missing an appendage.

#2 BUT, for many of you, it IS possible.  Especially if you start with the 30,000-foot view of your family’s rhythms.  Write it down.  When a situation occurs, reflect on it.  Could another family member or caregiver have helped?   Just like many people with autism, autism moms have a difficult time asking for help.  Start now.  Baby Steps.

#3 Dr. Wayne Dryer (God rest his soul) said, “what other people think of me is none of my business.”  What a great mantra!  It is difficult to ask for help.  I think many times it is because the help comes with a slew of, “you know what you should dos.”  They mean well but it certainly doesn’t make you or your child feel judged.

#4  Admittedly, I do get anxious when I’m going to a conference and meeting new people.  However, that is when it is industry/work conferences.  I am exceedingly self-conscious and expend a lot of mental energy preparing for and “performing” at them.  BUT I can’t tell you how amazing Autism Warrior Mama’s are.  It truly is like a big hug where everyone gets it, COMPLETELY understands and you could talk to each one for HOURS.

#5  When I’m planning for a trip, I start as far ahead as possible. 

            Learn and document the rhythms.

            Try not to overschedule the 7-10 prior to leaving.

            Determine tasks and who can do them. 

            As you get closer, keep and share lists with those who can help you.

            Maybe plan an hour of pamper time (pedicure, manicure, hair cut?) for yourself prior to the conference?

The great thing about the conference is it is 3 days—you leave Friday and return Sunday. 

You CAN do this!

#ComePlayWithUs®

Xoxoxoxoxox

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