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5. Traffic lights: Simple laminated traffic light cards can help a child who is unused to queues. Try using the method before the holidays so that they’re used to it. You can find lots of handmade resources for autism on Ebay – look up ‘autism resources traffic lights’.
6. Use obsessions as rewards: “If you’re good all day we can play the computer when we get home!”
7. Don’t let tantrums get to you: Sometimes the tension that you feel at the mere possibility of a tantrum is enough to rub off on your kid. Try to relax, have a distraction tactic ready for meltdown and remember – ALL kids tantrum, not just autistic ones!
8. Count down: Use small countdown clocks (get them on www.specialdirect.com) or count down on your fingers to give concrete ideas of time spans.
9. Child location: If your child is non-verbal, either buy a child locatoror a wristband, or just write your mobile number on your child’s hand. Give rewards for staying close to mummy!
10. Afterwards: After your day out, make sure that you’ve got a picture of where you’ve been to hand, laminated if possible, so that your child can show you if they want to visit again!
1. Prepare: Think about where you’re going, then let your child know. Show them the website or pictures of the place, and tell them how long it’ll take to get there. If you can, draw a little cartoon to show them what’s going to happen during the day out, pointing out how and where they’re going to eat.
2. Carry the DLA letter: You never know when you might need it for entrance discounts.
3. Plan B: If Plan A may not be a certainty, have a Plan B in mind and if your child’s understanding is good, let them know about it so that it won’t come as a shock.
4. Handy Handbags: Having stuff to do in the back of the car helps. If you can, save some books or toys that the kids haven’t seen before. Some small fiddle toys kept in a handbag can really help in unexpected queues.