- Title: Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun!
- Subtitle: How Families of Children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most Out of Community Activities
- Author: Lisa Jo Rudy
- Length: 256 pages
- Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
- Website: authenticinclusion.blogspot.com/
- About the About.com Rating
Getting out into the community is essential for promoting inclusion and a full life for kids with special needs, but making that a positive and successful experience can be tough. Rudy's ideas may not work for every family, but they should get you thinking about where your child might fit.
"Getting out" and "having fun" may seem mutually exclusive if your community forays usually end in meltdowns, rejections, and feelings of failure. Mine is a family of homebodies, and I feel strongly about the merits of staying in and hanging out. But it's undeniable that, if we ever hope to have our children included in their schools and communities, we have to get them out where people can get to know and appreciate them. And we need books like Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun! to kickstart us.
The challenge, of course, is finding community settings where our kids and families can be successful. Rudy, who also writes about autism for About.com, has lots of ideas on how to do that, ranging from special-needs groups to mainstream offerings. The availability of these activities will vary sharply based on your area, your child's needs, and your personal resourcefulness.
As Rudy explains how she got a grant to create an inclusive day camp, frequented museums with her son with PDD-NOS, and encouraged his musical abilities until he was able to play in his school jazz band, you may well feel that you and your child are not on that level. The underlying message, though, is generally applicable -- that your child needs to have something more in life than school and therapy, your community needs to learn how to accommodate people with differences, and the responsibility for bringing those needs together is yours. You can start small, but you gotta start.
Is This Book for You?
It's definitely for you if: you have a child on the lighter side of the autism spectrum whose talents, abilities, and interests have some mainstream applicability ... you live in an area that is rich in opportunities, and you need only worry about tailoring them to your child's needs ... you have time, money, and energy available to pursue the opportunities you find.
It may be for you if: your child has a disability other than autism, but with similar issues in finding community connections ... your area is not quite so option-rich, but you have good connections and an ability to organize things yourself ... you're able to take ideas that aren't right for you and use them as fuel for your own more appropriate inspirations.
It may not be for you if: your child's special needs are very different from autism, and you don't have time to read a whole book and take just what's right for you ... you are annoyed or upset by books that offer a positive and optimistic view of autism spectrum disorders ... you believe it's the community's responsibility to accommodate your child without you having to create programs or search out opportunities or pass on material about dealing with special needs.
It's definitely not for you if: you feel it's vital to keep your child in school and therapy every available moment ... your family is in crisis, and inclusion is the least of your worries ... you really don't need another thing to feel guilty about not doing for your child.
Table of Contents
- Getting Out, Exploring, and Having Fun: Why Does It Matter?
- Before You Start: Preparing Yourself and Your Child to Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun
- How to Learn About and Select Community Settings for Your Child and Family
- Sports and Autism
- Scouts, 4-H, the YMCA, and Other Youth Groups
- Museums, Zoos, Aquariums, and More
- Autism and Faith Communities
- Visual and Performing Arts
- Summer Camps and the Natural World
- Special Interests, Clubs, Family Outings, and Other Ideas
- Selling the Idea of Inclusion
Appendix 2: Sample Grant Proposal
Appendix 3: Resource List