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Circus Part of the group that attended the circus outing.[/caption]

**Blog post by BACA ABA Therapists, Morgan Gardner and Jessica Linneweber

Yes, kids…we saw a tiger’s poop.

Community outings with children are always interesting.  Today, I walked into work knowing it was going to be a good day because we, my friends, were going to the circus. The kiddos in Classroom 1 and Classroom 2 had been anticipating this and working to earn this outing for quite some time now.  Heck, it’s all they could talk about.

“What kind of animals are going to be there?”

“What’s going to happen there?”

And most importantly…”what kind of food will be at the circus?”

The time had arrived, 9:00 am.  I saw arms raising in the air with joy and heard “yay yay yay, we’re going to the circus!”  It was a moment of pure joy.  The excitement in the room was almost tangible and oh so sweet.

Not just from the kids but also from the therapists.  These kids of ours, that we wish nothing but the best for, had worked their little tails off to follow their rules for over a month to earn this outing and we were incredibly proud of them.

One by one, they filed into the van with smiles on their faces wondering what the next couple of hours would hold.

We arrived at the Indiana State Fairgrounds and the smiles on hundreds of kids’ faces were priceless.  We as therapists were somewhat nervous not knowing what the next couple of hours would entail.  Would the noises scare our kids?  Would being in the dark make them upset?  Would one of them elope because they saw a sno-cone and knew they had to have it?  We just didn’t know at the time.  But I can tell you now that our kids ROCKED it.  They shattered their fears and our worries like nobody’s business.

The circus began, the kids continued to smile and the therapists began to relax.  We saw circus ladies dancing and heard whistles from one of our boys (hilarious).  We saw tigers jump through a ring of fire but more importantly, one of the tigers pooped while in the ring (even more hilarious if you ask our kids).  There were people on tightropes and clowns doing silly acts.  There were dogs doing amazing tricks and people climbing on chairs on top of chairs.  It was AMAZING!  Our kids were enthralled, well most of them anyway.  One of them was more interested in people’s popcorn and sno-cones than in the show but that’s what circuses are for right?  Awesome food!

Then the grand finale came.  Celine Dion came on the speakers and that’s when we knew it was going to be a good act.  A woman in a gold and sparkly outfit got lifted up and did all of these amazing acrobatic things that our kids can’t stop talking about.  She was swinging, flipping, and twirling and then a heap of gold dust came fluttering from her like a fairytale.  And one of our boys in awe said “wow…she’s beautiful.”  It was so innocent and so sweet.

We left the circus and all of our kids were asking each other what their favorite parts were.  It was so awesome to see them interact with each other about something that they truly enjoyed.  They had a great time and so did we.  Our children with autism that we love, care for, and worry about enjoyed the circus just as much, if not more, than the next group of kids.

What I learned is that our kids can surprise us.  I reluctantly admit that I expected at least one child to get upset or to exhibit a maladaptive behavior, but they didn’t.  They were AWESOME.  They proved to themselves and to us that they can not only overcome a somewhat overwhelming situation but thrive and share in the joys that every childhood should include.  Lesson for the day, if we want our kiddos to have greater access to their world today and in the future, WE must provide the opportunities and prepare them for success instead of avoiding situations that may seem “too much” and preparing ourselves for barriers.

 

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