Not too long ago, we were given a very generous, very wonderful gift. It was a vacation. You see, for the last two years our life has been pretty crazy. Between my husband going back to school, receiving our son’s diagnosis of Autism, moving several times, and learning how to balance this thing called Autism in our daily lives, our little family has been stretched in more ways than we could ever imagine. Throughout this time, I have seen the Lord work and experienced His hand move in my heart and in the life of our family in amazing ways. But that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been hard. Well, a very special couple who knows our story well, saw a need and gifted us a vacation. What a blessing!
They supplied the trip, but we had to supply the courage.
That’s right, I said courage. You see, it takes courage to travel very far when you have a child with Autism. Traveling forces you to venture into public. Traveling means restaurants and hotels. Traveling means people. And sometimes (not always, but sometimes), traveling can mean stares, ugly looks, and comments.
Traveling with a child who has Autism also means you are taking a child that relies heavily on structure and familiarity, out of their “comfort zone” and introducing them to new sights, smells, and sounds…sensory overload!
So, where might a family like ours vacation where we are most likely to set ourselves up for a successful trip? Welp, we found a place!
Our family took a trip to San Antonio, Texas, where our main attraction was an amazing place called Morgan’s Wonderland.
Morgan’s Wonderland is a park especially designed for special needs families. This park includes all kinds of sensory activities and is fully accessible to everyone!
One of the things that I will never forget is watching a young lady roll her wheelchair onto an adaptive swing, and the joy that spread across her face as she was able to swing through the air. I wondered if she had ever been able to swing like that before. I wondered what an amazing feeling of freedom that must have been for her.
Another wonderful thing about this “wonderland”, was the staff. It was obvious that the staff had a heart for special needs children of all types and they were there to make sure each child had a great time.
What was amazing about this place was that there were families there just like ours. When Ezra had one of his melt downs we didn’t feel everyone’s eyes staring us down. When Ezra rocked back and forth with excitement at the sight of the Choo Choo Train, no kids laughed at him or gave us funny looks. Everyone there was a little “different”, and that made us all the same. How refreshing!
Besides our Morgan’s Wonderland adventure, we did attempt “normal” activities. We swam in our hotel pool, we ate out a few times, and we drove through many-a Starbucks.
We did try to prevent “behaviors” by putting these few things into play:
- We requested a handicap hotel room (Ezra sleeps in a special bed that we must bring along and he also enjoys the extra space).
- We called ahead to restaurants and requested tables that were away from most of the traffic/away from the crowd as much as possible.
- We “armed” ourselves with all of Ezra’s favorite things (toys and movies).
- We prayed over Ezra and asked the Lord to give him peace and a calm spirit.
Although we had a few meltdowns and “Autism Moments”, I would consider our vacation quite a success! It was so special to watch both of our children enjoy themselves and share in our much needed family vacation.
I am so thankful for our little getaway! Thank you, Lord, for having provided us with this special trip and thank you for the courage to try something wonderful!
Below is a gallery of pictures we would like to share from our trip. Just click away to scroll through!