Predictability at the Park

I’ve become fascinated with some of the inclusive community practices in Australia.  One, in particular, seems so easy to make happen that you have to wonder why it’s not happening all over the place.  Many kids on the autism spectrum don’t handle spontaneity very well.  They want predictability.  But that’s not what you’re likely to find at the neighbourhood park.  Certainly not at mine.  There are birds flying and swooping, kids shrieking with glee at the top of the slide and a splash pad that whirls water randomly.  It’s noisy and haphazard and that means a massive sensory overload for kids on the autism spectrum.
So some Australian parks are starting to offer simple stories – they’re called social scripts-that parents can access online.  It will have photos of things their children might encounter at the park and, along with a simple text, the parents and kids can discuss the experience in advance of the trip.  Parents can choose just the text and photos that will be relevant for them and can even add others of their own.
It’s such a smart, low-tech idea, designed to help the whole family enjoy the experience of an outing at the park.


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