Going to the park is a great way to get some outdoor time with your family. Finding a park that an autistic child can feel comfortable at, however, can be a bit of a challenge.
Let’s go over a few general tips about public parks that may help a child with autism feel more comfortable.
Parks & Equipment
Many public parks today are fancier than the ones we had as kids. Plastic climbing walls, steering wheels, and bubble windows are regularly found at parks today. While some of these fun things may not lead to sensory discomfort, many parks have a few things to consider before scheduling a trip.
- Ground texture (woodchips, sand, rubber chips, etc)
- Surface texture (plastic, metal, wood, etc)
- Playset structure (heights, movement, noise, etc)
Taking a mental inventory of things your child is or is not comfortable with when you see a new park can alleviate potential problems before they arise. A lot of public parks have vastly different layouts from one another. Find the one that will work the best for your child’s needs.
Scheduling a Visit
Parks have busy times, just like any other public location. If your child has difficulties with large crowds or other children, finding a slower time could help smooth out a park visit. Things to keep in mind before visiting a park include:
- Time of day
- Day of the week (weekends are busy!)
- Time of year (holidays, 3-day weekends, spring break, etc)
- Businesses around the park (are there a lot of noisy trucks around during the day?)
- Seasonal changes (citywide events, etc)
If your child has difficulty dealing with crowds, make sure to plan your park visits accordingly. Also, be sure to monitor your child’s engagement during any park visit. What do they like? What do they not like? This can help you plan future trips.
What to Bring to a Park Visit
If you want to have a park visit that makes your child feel as comfortable as possible, you may have to bring a couple of things. Things that may help a park visit with a child with autism include:
- Favorite toys or objects
- Snacks & drinks
- Timer or visual aids for visit duration
- Favorite blanket for sitting or picnics
Be sure to ask your child’s therapist if they have any tips for park visits. On top of suggestions, they may have some fun activities that will make your next park visit a blast!
ABA Therapy from IABA Consultants
If you have questions regarding autism treatment, education, or plans to use ABA therapy, we are here for you! Our goal is to make sure no family is turned away due to financial constraints. Our therapy team would love to talk to you. Find the location closest to you and give us a call. We’re here for you.