Q&A with Simone Balestrin Autism Mom

“I love that we can now go to cafes together and order a meal. Places with booth seats are the best because I can sit on the outside and block off most of the other customers and stop him running around.”

Q&A with Simone Balestrin Autism Mom

submitted by Simone Balestrin

Hi everyone,
My name is Simone, I live in Australia, and I have a seven-year-old son, Josh, who has severe autism and an eleven-year-old neurotypical daughter.

When I plan any outings with my kids, I have several things I always make sure are done before going. I pack a small bag with Josh’s food and juice and make sure my i-Phone is fully charged, in case I need to call anyone quickly.
If we are going somewhere new, I might source some visuals beforehand of the internet to prepare him so he can see what to expect which lessens his anxiety.
I try my best to make it as stress-free as possible though communication with him is complex and requires a lot of skill and patience, both of which I have acquired over the years.I use a combination of spoken words and pictures to get my ideas through which mostly works though not all the time.

I love the fact that we can now go to cafes together and order a meal, something that I have waited for several years to be able to do.  I tend to pick food venues with booth seats because then I can sit relaxed on the outside and block off most of the other customers and stop my son from running around or darting out into the street. He seems to be happy to eat his packed foods and play on my I-Phone, for now, and I hope it stays this way for a while.

I remember years ago when this was so hard, and he wouldn’t sit at all.
I promised myself I would change that so I started by just ordering a coffee and trying to get him to stay for a short visit. Baby steps! I can’t even remember the number of times when I didn’t get to finish it; there were quite a few. And it wasn’t easy to find places that were accepting of his behaviors and didn’t judge us. But I didn’t give up and kept trying every week. I’m so proud of how far he has come.

I guess I’ll be trying to plan a short day trip next!


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