Saturday, July 9, 2011

July Fest and Autism

We are hoping today to visit July Fest in downtown Binghamton.  This annual celebration features art, crafts, and, for the second year, a jazz festival.

This year, also....the Magic Paintbrush Project!

This is exciting news.  It can be difficult for people with disabilities to participate in a street festival.  Noise, people...not the favorite thing for people with autism.  And, if you are a family with a young child with autism, you have to try to balance the needs of your special little one with those of your other family members.

Just as a small example:  there is a booth with homemade soap.  They are works of art, and the owner of the booth is quite friendly. But the scent:  someone with autism would be able to smell it from quite a distance away and to them, it might not be pleasant.  The sensory life of someone with autism is not an enjoyable one; they feel and smell at such an intense level it can be totally overwhelming to them-which leads to tantrums or a behavior called stimming. Stimmng will certainly bring attention, unwanted attention, to the entire family.

It is so difficult for siblings (and it doesn't get easier when they grow up; trust me!) but they can be together at the Magic Paintbrush project.   When the member with autism can get involved in something like this, perhaps the next time a festival rolls around he or she will associate it with good memories.  It's always worth a try.

If this is your family, please stop by.  You'll be so glad you did.

It's worth the trip to downtown Binghamton.

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