So I have been a little quiet on the blogging front as December was a deliciously busy month.
This involved two trips to different cities to spend time with family.
I will be the first to admit that I was slightly nervous as I wasn't sure how Gabriel would handle such a huge change in his routine.
The first trip was by road and involved an 8 hour journey to reach our destination. This holiday included meeting several new faces and several visits to different homes, as well as an overnight stay at a bush camp.
Now, you can prepare a child with Autism as much as possible for these schedules - visual cues, audio cues, repetition - but nothing can prepare them on an emotional level.
This trip was fairly hard for Gabriel. The car trip was a breeze, as he loves travelling in the car but the constant changes, no matter how we restricted them, usually resulted in, at least, one meltdown a day.
The bush camp, however, was a massive success. There is something about nature and Autism that really strikes a harmonious balance. One thing that excited me on this trip was how Gabriel responded to the camp's two large dogs. Usually nervous around dogs (long story involving our ex-neighbour's dogs) I saw him standing near the one, brushing his hair - with my hairbrush! But we were so excited to see this interaction, I didn't care about that!
Our second trip involved an airplane journey. 2 hours long. Now for Gabriel to sit still for two hours is an immense challenge. So my handbag was stretched to capacity with toys to keep him occupied. First hour - success. Second hour - we raised some Autism Awareness ;).
But this is what is interesting - as much as Autism is fairly predictable, Gabriel is, wonderfully, not. He constantly surprises us. He surprised us by how well he handled the rest of this trip. How he was able to, quietly, remove himself from a busy family gathering on Christmas Day and retreat to another room when he became overwhelmed. How brilliantly he handled the return flight home. And how, when we got home that evening, there were no meltdowns.
But the best surprise of all was when he fetched his Dusty plane, some Prestick, spare toy car wheels and modified it to look like this:
Yup. He did that. Almost completely on his own.
Guess it flies faster now ;).