Posted in Autism, Down syndrome, Fun Side of Nick, Recreation/Leisure and Special Needs

Summer Vacation Update

Summer Vacation Update 

We are back from a two week vacation break.  It’s never certain how a person with a dual diagnosis of Down syndrome and autism will do with changes in schedule and venues.  Here’s what we’ve been up to………

Nick enjoyed going out with his respite worker, Lara to Blackberry Farm.  While on a ride, filled with little kids they hit a big bump.  Nick blurted out a loud expletive.  Let’s just say the little ones might have learned a new word they shouldn’t have.  Uncle Thomas came up from Texas for a visit.  It was fun to share laughs together and grill on the deck.  Nick showed his Uncle how he likes to play musical chairs.  Every time someone would get up, Nick would grab all his tappers and stims and steal their spot. He’d laugh flashing that devilish grin of his.

nick and tappers

The second week, we took a road trip to attend a family reunion.  Our route down took us thru St. Louis……

St. Louis Arch

We arrived at our destination 11 hours later at Lee’s Resort in Grove, Oklahoma….


Nick did really well in the car.  You just have to tune out the sound of the tennis balls tapping incessantly and watch out for flying toys and objects coming from the back seat.

Nick tapping on my shoulder on the road trip 🙂 “Wake up Mom!”

Nick tapping shoulder

It was so much fun to be with the family.  On Friday, we rented a pontoon boat. His Grandma, cousins, aunt and uncles had blast tubing and he loved riding fast in the boat.  Nick was doing great until we had trouble getting the anchor to stay put. We were ready to relax and float in the lake for a bit.  After several failed attempts in three different areas, Nick began to get upset and agitated.  Poor guy, he didn’t know what was going on.  Finally, we found an abandoned dock and tied up to it.  It took some coaxing to convince Nick to put a life jacket on and get in.  (Normally I would have made some visuals for him to follow.  But we didn’t plan the boat excursion in advance).  For persons like Nick, who have Down syndrome and autism it is important to show visuals so they understand what is going on and also what is expected of them.  Eventually Nick made his way to the stern of the boat.  His legs were trembling as he slowly went down the stairs.  Oh, but once Nick hit the water, he took off doggy paddling so fast as if he was after a fire alarm.🙂

 Grand Lake in Grove, OK…..


After five days of visiting, games, filling up on homemade banana pudding, cobbler and ice cream, we hit the road back to Chicago.  Driving amongst the corn fields I got to thinking about our time with the family.  We are very fortunate to have their support and understanding about Nick.  I looked up into the sky at the clouds trying to zone out ESPN radio.  One cloud looked like a Dalmatian with wings.  Another resembled Dory, the fish from the Disney movie “Finding Nemo”.  Nick was busy tapping a water bottle and cracking himself up laughing.  I have no idea why.   What I wouldn’t give to get inside his noggin and see what he’s thinking.  Since that is not possible I can only go by his demeanor.

Nick hung in there well and did better than I expected at the family reunion.  The only time he got mad,(besides the anchor problems on the boat) was when the tables were rearranged in a different configuration for the final dinner. (He had been sitting in the same spot for every meal.)  Yes, he made loud noises, blew snot rockets and threw things just as he does every day. But that’s just Nick’s world.  I’m not sure what some of the extended family members know or think about Nick.  The ones who choose to engage feel a connection in his hugs, fake sneezes, burps and elbow bumps.  It warms my heart to see that Nick has those family bonds.  We made it without any meltdowns and Nick had a great time and for that, I am thankful.  That’s what is in my noggin this week. 🙂