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By Brenda Kosky-Deskin

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Autism At The Racetrack

August 22, 2012   Comments (0)

Entertainment Everyday Life

Watching the horse races can be a fun night out for the entire family and a fantastic learning opportunity for kids on the Autism Spectrum.

We took Michael to the racetrack a few nights ago. Now before you get on the phone to Children's Aid, rest assured that there was no gambling going on, other than taking our chances on some rather sketchy looking hamburgers. Fine dining it wasn't, but aside from the meal, our family had a great time.
Michael, being the animal-lover that he is, watched with excitement as the horses darted by. And between races, he enjoyed the warm-up laps and entertained himself with a small plush horse that we bought for him at the giftshop upon our arrival.
The night was full of great learning opportunities. I took a picture of the scoreboard on my phone so I could point out to Michael what some of the numbers meant (the ones I could figure out, anyways!) He quickly learned which one indicated what race we were currently watching and which one represented the number of minutes left until the next race. We were so proud of him when he unexpectedly remarked "It's night" as the sun was setting over the racetrack. As many Autism parents can appreciate, any demonstration of joint attention or spontaneous communication offered by our kids is always a reason for excitement.
Do you know what a sulky is? Michael now does and took great pride in labelling the jockeys' carriages for us as the horses sprinted by, race after race.
We had many brief and simple Michael-style chats throughout the evening, most of which were initiated by me asking him to "Point to the jockey wearing red," inquiring, "How many minutes until the horses go very fast?" and a variety of other questions that seem to roll off the tongue of a mom who has been running a VB/ABA program for almost 15 years.
As the evening progressed, the air got a bit chilly and my husband and I thought about leaving a bit earlier than originally anticipated. We had, however, informed Michael earlier on that there were 12 races scheduled for the evening. He was bound and determined to see each and every one, which he did. And we really didn't mind. It was well worth the pleasure we got from watching our son have such a great night out!

So, if you have a family member with Autism and find yourself wondering what to do or where to go for an interesting change of scenery, I'd highly recommend a visit to the racetrack. The payoff can be huge.

August 22, 2012   Comments (0)

Entertainment Everyday Life

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