Do we limit our children because they are autistic or do we empower them?
Do we stop them before they have had a chance to attempt something because it’s something we believe they won’t be able to do?
The title of my blog is Kids on Tour – Autism without Limits. I chose the Autism without Limits bit because I really believe I don’t want to let autism limit us and I believe my son can achieve without letting autism limit him. This is why we travel, we go on day trips, we go out to restaurants etc.
However, recently I’ve realised something. I interviewed my son for another post which you can read here. One of the answers he gave got me thinking. You see, I asked him “What do you not like about having autism?” to which he replied “Not being able to do what other people can, like playing paintball because I get too stressed.”
My son wants to play paintball and he tried it once. We went to a local paintball site and because of their ages I signed the kids up to do mini ball which is a bit less scary!
They were given all the equipment they needed and the rules were explained. My son who follows rules completely knew that he couldn’t take his mask off, knew how far away from someone he had to be before he could shoot them etc. Adults aren’t allowed to play miniball so they had to go out to the ten minute games by themselves. If my son was on his own I wouldn’t of let him play but the person in charge said they were fine with it, they seemed to understand his needs and he had his sister to look out for him.
The first game went fine. The second did not! Unfortunately the guns had not been aired up before the game so some of them were running out of air half way through. The leader was telling the kids to go to the dead zone if their gun stopped working to swap with someone who was out of the game. My sons gun stopped working. The leader told him to go to the dead zone. My son didn’t understand and thought he was being told he was out but he hadn’t been shot so he got very cross and threw the gun at a tree! He then stormed off into the woods with my daughter in pursuit. Needless to say they only played two of the games that day!
Since then my son has asked to play paintball and I think I’ve said the wrong thing! I remember that day and say to him “I’m not sure it’s a good idea because it might make you too stressed”. Now my son believes that he can’t play paintball because it makes him too stressed.
After hearing his answer in the interview, I’m realising maybe we should try again. Who am I to limit him and stop him achieving in his life. As a mum I should be stood here saying yes rather than no. I should be thinking of ways to allow him to do the things he dreams of and empowering him to become who he wants to be.
Did you know there is a disabled paintball team in the UK? They play against all the other UK teams. They get no benefit in the competition for being a disabled team and they win as many games as any other team. They are called Team Unlimited !
Who am I to tell my son he can’t play paintball? Who am I to limit him because of his autism? Next time he asks I’m going to say yes. I’m going to play with him. I’m going to help him and I’m going to watch him achieve!
If your child wants to try something don’t let your fears as a parent stop them from trying. We might think they might fail but they might not! Let’s give our kids the chance to achieve, help them, work out ways to empower them to live their dreams! Then we can say they have Autism without Limits!
Thankyou for taking the time to read this post. If you would like to read more then feel free to follow my blog or like my Facebook page which I keep up to date with new posts as they are written. You can also find me on Twitter @KidsOnTour1