Matthew’s playground

All kids love to run around and play in the summertime or the wintertime. They enjoy the sunshine and the fresh breeze and taking a dip in the pool on a hot summer day and lying in the snow and making snow angels and throwing snowballs at each other on a snowy winter day. I remember when I was a kid I could bike with my friends for hours. I felt great riding and racing with my friends. Matthew is like any other kid and he enjoys playing and running around and having fun. In the summertime Maria, Matthew, Grandma and I enjoy going to the beach or the pool and once Matthew goes in the water it’s very hard to get him out unless the ice cream man makes a visit. I enjoy spending days together as a family and seeing our son smiling and having a good time.

Maria and her mom take Matthew to Eisenhower Park where they ride their bikes and stop along the way for time at the playground and for ice cream. He loves riding his bike and I remember one time making the mistake of trying to keep up with him on foot. I learned my lesson and made sure that next time I go I have a bike to keep up with my son.

Autistic children tend to find comfort in doing things they feel safe doing and that does not require much interaction. As a concerned parent you try to encourage your child to participate in group sports so they experience socialization, team work and healthy competition. We tried to introduce Matthew to organized sports when we signed him up for youth soccer in the town of Levittown. Once I noticed Matthew was having difficulties following instruction and showing signs of boredom and not able to deal with the structure within a team setting we knew this was not going to work for him. We were disappointed but knew we could not force him into playing. We just wanted to find an outlet for him that is healthy, provides an opportunity for him to make friends and to learn a little healthy competition.

I know for me little league was a lot of fun and it enabled me to make lots of friends and to challenge myself. Matthew does not seem to have that interest so I want him to find what does and I will support him and encourage him if we feel it is beneficial for him.

Matthew’s most favorite place to go is the playground. He still loves it and everytime he goes he does make some friends for the day and he gets to run and jump and climb and have a good time.

We are fortunate to have the ability to send Matthew to camp for the summer and he always looks forward to it. We were looking for a place where he can have fun activities planned and where he would be supervised properly and have the opportunity to interact with other kids that are similar and learn to get along and have fun. We found that place which is Camp Kehalia which is run by the Sid Jacobson JCC.

He has been going now for the past 5 years and he has made progress and we are happy that he enjoys it because the most important thing we want for our child is for him to be happy and have fun and the opportunity to make friends. In life the simple things are the most rewarding.

Matthew’s playground is where he finds his happiness.

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