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Autism in New York City

21 Abr 2014 – 01:24 AM EDT

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I never expected our visit to New York with kids to be easy. Our girls are just six and four years old, after all. We were heading down to the city for a charity walk for Easter Seals. Our littlest girl, Kate, has autism. We are becoming pretty seasoned at making accommodations for travel that other parents might not necessarily have to make. We invited Grandma to help with Kate. We used social stories to prepare her for the big city and we filled a bag with ‘treats’ to keep her busy on the plane. Our last plane ride was pretty eventful and you can read about it here. Go ahead, I’ll wait. Come back though, because what I say next might surprise you.

Done? Great. Well, ‘Dear Daddy’ was the very reason we were making this trek. It was time for him and Kate to reunite and we weren’t disappointed when the two of them hit it off, again.

Back to the beginning, though. After two much less eventful plane rides, we arrived and discovered very quickly that Kate was sick. Grace, our eldest, was pretty excited to explore so we took turns taking her out and about while someone watched Kate. Kate’s autism presents in such a way that she can be easily overwhelmed by loud noise (unless they are her own) and large crowds. I know, I know. What was I thinking? Right! Combined with the virus she was battling it was an extremely tough five days for her. Let me share some of the ups and downs.

The Good:

Grace adored the American Girl store. Who am I kidding? So did I. It was fabulous and so was the afternoon tea we took her to for her 6th birthday.

‘Dear Daddy’ and his wife took Alex and I to Madison Square Garden to see a hockey game.

The Bad:

Kate was kind of miserable and confused much of the time. Her virus exacerbated the symptoms of her autism tenfold.

Kate bit the back of my head outside of FAO Schwarz and took a lot of hair in the process. We both cried.

The Beautiful:

The staff of Easter Seals and ‘Dear Daddy’ and family understood our situation and made every effort to make us comfortable and happy.

We stuck together as a family and eventually Kate was well enough to go to the Central Park Zoo and The Museum of Natural History.

So, would we do New York with kids again? Not anytime soon. However, we appreciate the efforts of everyone involved and we made some pretty priceless memories.