Pathfinders for Autism Downtown Sailing Event
I’ve always heard that it takes a village to raise a child, I come from a big family and with four kids we could use a village at times. Honestly it seemed when we needed a village the most, we isolated ourselves and hoped on an island. Our middle son was diagnosed with Autism last year and life hasn’t been the same since. I first wrote about JB’s journey in my post Wishing and Waiting for Words, at the time he was two going on three and he was losing the eight words he had, now at four he is completely non-verbal and picking up behaviors that he didn’t have before. I started feeling defeated and after stressing our for a few weeks I decided it was time to get off our island and find some villages. My first thought was of course Facebook. I found a wonderful Autism support group for families that live in Maryland.
It was in that group that I found Pathfinders for Autism and after spending an entire day on the site I wished I had found it last year, when I was confused and felt alone, when I was looking for tools to help us deal, when I was looking for resources to help us be great parents to JB. While on the site I found their events calendar and saw they had an opportunity to attend a sailing event in Downtown Baltimore with the Downtown Sailing Center. I registered JB and crossed my fingers hoping he would get selected. As soon as I registered the same fear that forced me on that island a year ago started to surface again. Although it was an event for Autistic children I was worried about his behaviors, worried about him screeching, worried he would have a melt down, worried about getting on the water and when he got selected I worried more. Finally the day arrived and it was time for us to take him to the event. I think I was more nervous that he was.
We arrived and everything was super easy, we signed release forms so we could all go out on the pier to watch him take off. The plan was for him and I to go out on the water but once I learned we would be sailing alone I was too nervous to take him. I was worried he would get scared or excited and tilt the boat. I switched places with my husband and let him go out with our son instead of me and I kept the other kids. For this event only JB and one adult could sail. We all wanted to go but we understood since it’s a free event and Pathfinders and the Downtown Sailing Center wanted to give as many families as possible the opportunity to sail.
There were about twenty other families when we arrived waiting for instructions and their sail boat assignments. After everyone got registered Pathfinders staff and volunteers were taking the sailors down to the pier to board their boats. When waiting to board my husband ended up getting on a bigger boat so he didn’t have to sail with just him and JB. Now I was even more jealous. I took photos of the families on the water and hubby got a few photos of them on the water.
It looked like JB and all the other participants had lots of fun during the event. The weather was great so it was perfect for sailing. It wasn’t too hot or cold just perfect and the breeze off the water was perfect. JB didn’t have any melt downs and he enjoyed the time with his dad. I thought he wouldn’t like being on the water too long but it was actually very relaxing for him. My husband sent me a few photos he took of them on the boat. It looks like they had so much fun.
Thanks to Pathfinders for Autism and the Downtown Sailing Center for providing this free activity for families like mines. For showing us that it’s okay to want to have a village and how cool it is to have that village support. We would have never tried this on our own but I can’t wait to do this again with the whole family. Visit the Pathfinders for Autism events page for upcoming events. They have lots going on during the summer.