As it was a lovely day I decided that I’d take the 3 youngest to my mums today ( not favouritism, the older ones don’t surface till afternoon on weekends) and walk along the Thames to McDonalds ,its a nice walk ,twenty minutes each way and Ollie is familiar with it , as you will know if you’ve read my blog before its a struggle to get Ollie out ,he hates bus rides but he can tolerate it if we are going to my mums.
We got to my mums and after a quick pitstop for the loo we headed off for a nice walk. Me, mum, 3 kids and the dog.
The walk along the river was lovely ,there was lots of helicopters landing and taking off at the heliport, we always stop and have a look at them, the tide was really low so the kids pointed out all the various bits of rubbish along the *beach* (nice !!) And then it all started to unravel.
McDonalds was closed.
It’s being done up. The kids were hungry so we decided to head into town to another McDonalds and get takeaways to eat at mums. This meant two (short) bus rides, already this was obviously getting too much for Ollie . There were tears on the bus.
Town was very very busy and the short walk to McDonalds was a bit fraught, busy streets with a very stressed boy and a dog that’s never been to the high st before.
We got to McDonalds, I thought we would grab their food and head back before things got more strained. But it was so busy in there. The staff were very shouty, shouting at eachother and customers( herding everyone into queues like cattle) we waited around ten minutes, Ollie crying the whole time.
We finally got our food.
The bus stop was busy and it was 7 minutes till the bus was due so it was decided that we could walk home faster.
Another change of plan that was too much for Ollie.
As we turned the corner there were a group of people with suitcases blocking the pavement ,as we said excuse me and tried to squeeze past a lady pushed her suitcase into Ollie, pushing him off the pavement, he screamed at the lady that she was an idiot and he hated her, I think by this point I was just as stressed as him. We came to the park across the road from my mums and again it was decided that the kids would eat here before the food got cold.
Just then Ollie saw a bee and made up his mind that he would not be eating outside. We walked back to mums with Ollie crying all the way.
When we got indoors he actually collapsed on the floor and we had to carry him to the sofa where he cried some more.
The whole thing was destined to go wrong from the moment the first McDonalds was closed.
Going out with an autistic child is a minefield. Clearly it all went wrong today but it was a huge reminder to plan, plan, plan, explain the plan, have a back up plan, explain the back up plan, and be prepared for everything.
It was a stark reminder of just how difficult Ollie can find going out and how much it effects him when plans change unexpectedly.
I didn’t think much could happen on an afternoon walk and a quick stop at McDonalds but …I can tell you the next such outing will be planned with military precision.
Its a constant learning curve being a parent of an autistic child, and if you let your guard down there will be harsh reminders.
Its all about the planning.
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