Homeschool Convention with ASD

Every Memorial Day weekend, the FPEA puts on the homeschool convention in Orlando, Florida. It’s an hour and change from where we live, so I usually go. I’ve got six years of homeschooling under my belt. Wow, I can’t even believe that! In years past, I’ve taken two of my boys and they’ve participated in the student programs before. This year, the whole family went.

The.whole.family.went. Autism and all. And boy, did the autism scream off the page!

Let’s just say, it was a little intense.

Handsome loves it when we go places, because it usually means he will get his tablet. He knows he gets the tablet, because he knows that it is the only way we can enjoy whatever it is the rest of us want to do that he does not want to do. He kicks it into high gear when he knows we are busy, pre-occupied, or otherwise interested in something other than him. To prove this, you could call me on the phone. I guarantee my house will be silent when I first answer, and then within a minute, you’ll hear Handsome at my side screaming for the TV, tablet, or cookies.

There were a few golden moments with him, though. Like the time when he started lining up some math counters I picked up for him. Or the time when I opened up his new US magnets set. There was also that time when he went to sleep.

Oh, there was also that time when Handsome went running and laughing down to the hall and upset a man who stormed out of his room in his underwear. He stared us down to teach us a lesson. That was probably the most entertaining thing I had ever witnessed in my life. I always say that the people who are most enthusiastic to be naked in front of others, are people that no one really wants to see naked. This man proved my point.

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Other than that, Handsome enjoyed swimming in the pool for all of ten minutes. But most of the time, he spent demanding back into the wheelchair so we could go into the convention and he could have the tablet again. Yeah, just like this:

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Sometimes he would just bring me his sock, and place it directly on my food or in my face. He’s so sweet and unselfish like that.

On top of all the autism-stress, I came down with a head cold almost immediately after we arrived. Not sure if it was the overabundance of plants and trees inside of the hotel, or if it was the culmination of a lot of stress. [Crisis kiddo #6 was extremely difficult, spent 3 weeks with us, was sick every single day, and then moved on to another family right before we left for the convention.] At any rate, I felt quite miserable and did not make it to ANY of the workshops.

But not all was bad. There were four vendors who took a special interest in Handsome. And then there was this incredible thing that happened in our room…

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We got upgraded to the presidential suite, and in the suite, was an exercise ball. Now I know that the exercise ball wasn’t there to help a child with autism decompress after being overstimulated with the expo hall and hours on the tablet. But the fact that we were placed in this suite, on a corner, with no direct neighbors, with ample space to spread out, with a TV with hookups that allowed us to use our google cast to play his favorite videos, with an exercise ball that he could bounce on, and the luxury of having an extra large shower to bathe your large, autistic child in–well, those were some pretty fantastic upgrades for us. {{All of that world traveling that the hubs does pays off with things like this!}}

One of the booths was selling sensory products, and I picked up this colorful strobe lightbulb for Handsome. I set it in a lamp in his room after we got home. Gollum was interested in it.

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We are back home now, and I’ve been laying low today. Fueling up on oils to feel better. Making online orders for all the curriculum I wanted to buy but didn’t because we chose not to take the rooftop carrier and ran out of room in our car for all the stuff. Whoops.

And Handsome is back to being his regular, high-maintenance self again. Climbing up to the top shelf of my closet to reach this forbidden game that he can’t handle. Note to self, find a better hiding spot for Mouse Trap. Or, just burn it.

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So that was my weekend–sufficiently stocked up on autism. How was yours?


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