Monday, June 22, 2009

Fun times and adaptive parenting

First off, the five winners of the $20 Subway vouchers are:

Colleen, Kiera Beth, Erin, Anonymous (commenter #6) and KathsMom. Congrats, and happy sub-ing! E-mail me at and I will forward your info on to the lovely Subway Lady, who will be in touch.

This weekend, we road-tripped to The Crayola Factory in Easton, Pennsylvania. We'd been meaning to go for a long time, and when it rained on Saturday, off we went.

En route, we stopped at a diner. Max was grouchy and didn't want to eat lunch. We were in the back in a corner booth, with nobody around us, so I let him sit on the table—he could look out the window and watch cars going by— and fed him that way.

It got me thinking about adaptive parenting. When you have a kid with disabilities, you end up getting lots of adaptive equipment. Over the years we've had adaptive toys, an adaptive stroller, adaptive tricycle equipment, adaptive spoons, you name it. But perhaps the most helpful thing has been adaptive parenting.

Adaptive parenting means forgetting about the normal or typical way of doing things and adapting your parenting—and mindset— to the realities of your child. It's like going on a trip where you hit major traffic so you keep punching the navigator's "detour" button to find alternate routes. Same goes with parenting a kid with special needs: you're always finding other ways.

Our day at Crayola was all about adapting. Max started wailing when we walked into the lobby because of the din, so I asked a woman at the counter if she could let us pay for our tickets a.s.a.p. and whisk him inside. She did.

There were a ton of coloring and craft stations set up everywhere. Sabrina was in heaven.

I wished Max would sit down and make something, but that's not his cup of tea. Adapt!

I grabbed him and we went to The Canal Museum, an exhibit on the third floor, where Max floated boats through canals. He was fascinated.

Eventually, he got bolder and wandered around. He and Sabrina watched a model train.

He crawled through a tunnel.

Then he asked to go back to the canals.

He was also enchanted by the room-size elevator, and so we rode up and down that a bunch. He had a great day.

It's all about adapting, isn't it?


  1. It IS all about adapting! And having fun and not making excuses while doing it--we are what we are, after all...and we have to muddle through the best we can!

    Loved this post (a crayon museum? Who knew?) and the Father's Day one--we had a great day with Grampa and Grams--lots of food and love!

  2. Special needs or not, adapting is necessary! I absolutely HATE the norm! I have parented all of my children differently. Partially because of experience as a mother, and partially because they all have such different personalities. Jonathan is so laid back and can adapt quite easily. Jacob on the other hand, whoa nelly. He is like Jekyl and Hyde. You never know what you are going to get. And Victoria is a wonderful baby, her personality is more like Jacob, but not as intense.
    I love the post. And who cares if Max sat on the table to eat. The alternative was much much much worse!

  3. What a great point...We are definitly about adapting here too! Your story about him sitting on the table reminded me of about a year ago we were at DQ and just got the kids ice cream...but Zach saw someone eating fries. I typically would not let my kid eat from strangers...yet these nice ladies next to us offered him fries and to keep him happy we accepted...although he was practically straddling the wall that seperated our booths once he got eventually he got their whole basket lol!

    The crayola factory looked like fun...I remember watching a segment on tv about them and thinking it sounded like a cute place to go.

  4. Looks like a great day!

    And by the way...Sabrina always has on the cutest clothes :)

  5. Oh that looks like soooo much fun!!! I totally want to go there!!!!!

  6. I've been to the Crayola Factory and it is so much fun. Wish I lived closer. And you are so smart to recognize that a different reality calls for different ideas. Your kids are lucky to have you.

  7. cool I am going to DC leaveing tuesday and if we are not doing anyhting one day we might be able to do that

  8. I think parenting is all about adapting but it requires special skills with some children.
    Looks like you have discovered the secrets with Max and have learned to adjust to him without expecting him to adjust to everything around him.
    That is the sign of a great mommy and great parenting!

  9. This is a wonderful post! Kudos to you all for adapting and doing everything you can to give Max all of the joys and experiences of being a kid.

    I've told you this, but you're an inspiration to us! We just got Alice's stroller and going out is still a little new to us (that sounds so sad) but we are determined to expose Alice to all of the wonders of the world that we can.

    And that museum sounds FUN!

  10. That sounds like great fun!

  11. I have been to The Crayola Factory, it is alot of fun.
    All adaptive devices are amazing but the best one is free Adaptive Parenting Being able to talior your plans on the spot for your child is a real skill that is implanted in all special needs parents.


Thanks for sharing!

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