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Monica Gomez, a behavior consultant teaches Zachary and his mother Deanna Ballard and his sister Mckenna, 6, a game that teaches Autistic children about colors and shapes in Granite Bay, California.


Having fun needs to form a central part of any intervention and therapy you pursue.

Ways to Make Fun A Priority

By following these easy steps, parents of autistic children can make sure there is always time for fun in their family.


Parents of autistic children have to remember that fun is an essential part of their child’s development. Susan Walton, a mother of three, including one autistic son, and the author of “Coloring Outside Autism’s Lines: 50+ Activities, Adventures and Celebrations for Families with Children

with Autism” says, “It is easy to be consumed by the role autism forces us to play. The biggest mistake we can make is to put family fun at a low priority.” Walton gives parents these tips for keeping fun in their family:

1 Plan Ahead

2 Bring It Home 4 Get Together

Your 5 KOnow ptions

Before visiting any family destination, call ahead and inquire about special needs passes, something Walton says many places have but don’t advertise. “A special needs pass can help you avoid long lines, loud antechambers or restrictive rules that would inhibit your ability to have a relaxing day.”

Install an indoor swing, which offers many sensory benefits. A hammock can work too.

Know your gluten-free and casein-free restaurant options. Check in with your local branches of these national chains for a family-friendly night out: Boston Market, Chevys Fresh Mex, Chili’s, Outback Steakhouse, P.F. Chang’s, Subway and TCBY. ■

3 Relax Take some time for yourself, be it a massage, a date or just a little quiet time. When pressed for time, try making a visit to the coin-operated massage chairs in many malls.

Approach swimming pools, gymnasiums, bounce-house centers and other businesses about holding regular events for special-needs families. “One parent visiting a location with a child who has unique needs is a single customer,” Walton writes. “But a group of families together looking for recreation for their families is a more powerful entity.”

Photo Courtesay of Renee C. Byer, Story Courtesy of Heidi Stevens