There are several challenges for parents of children with autism. Many children have severe sensory and anxiety issues that prevent them from being able to take part in typical activities. This will limit the possibility of many recreational activities such as going to the beach, out to dinner or playing mini-golf.
Parents of these children also have an additional challenge of being limited financially because of the enormous costs associated with autism between therapies, doctors and taking time off work. So what kind of activities can a family enjoy this summer?
Movies by AMC Entertainment for One Dollar
AMC is bringing one movie a week on Tuesday mornings at 10am for $1.00. Concession sales will benefit two charities – Variety the Children’s Charity, and the Will Rogers Institute. There will also be a combo meal available for $4.00 that will include popcorn, soda and candy.
The doors open at 9:30am and tickets are on sale. Two hundred and fourteen theaters are participating nationwide. For children who have been practicing being at the movies this is a no-brainer, and for those who have not tried yet, this is a low cost chance to practice.
Regal Entertainment Offers Free Family Movie Fest
Family movie fest 2017 begins in mid June and runs through mid August and offers free PG and G movies on Tuesday and Wednesdays at 10am at select theaters. Tickets are sold on a first come first served basis and with more popular films the theaters fill up to capacity quickly. Most theaters open their doors at 9am, so go early. Each theater will usually have 2 theaters open showing different films, a G option and a PG option.
Regal entertainment operates in 38 states, in 545 theaters across the country.
Families can check the Regal Website for a list in their areas – it varies from state to state.
Some titles that will be shown this summer are Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, The Tale of Despereaux, two different Rugrat movies, ET, two different Muppet movies, Paul Blart Mall Cop, Evan Almighty and many more depending on the theater
Sensory Activities for Children With Autism to Do at Home
Having enough sensory activities can make the difference between a stressful summer and a more pleasant one that allows for growth and learning. Some of these can be taken with parents to help keep their child regulated while out on an adventure, or even used before hand to help with regulation.
- Playdough or putty
- Foam soap or shaving cream
- Toy light spinners
- Something to jump, bounce and crash on like a trampoline, couch or bed
- Access to water, the hose, the bathtub, a water-playground is best but not always available
- A blanket to roll a child like a hotdog for deep pressure or to swing them
- Weeds! Have the child do some weeding, pull grass
- Lavender scented Lotion for massage-this is good for Mom also
- Washable and dry erase markers
Water-playgrounds and amusement parks can be hit or miss depending on the child, as are the movies. Families should give themselves permission to at least attempt a new activity, or even one that ended poorly last summer. A child with autism may develop slower, but can develop new tolerances to things that bothered him in the past.