This year marks the 2nd Annual WordCamp US and the first year that we brought J with us. We flew in on Wednesday for the Friday/Saturday conference and we stayed until Monday evening. We wrapped a bunch of fun into the trip as well. I did my best to anticipate any needs that might have come up throughout our trip. I packed a thick jacket, thin jacket, sweaters, long sleeves, short sleeves, and then some. I made sure he had earplanes, ear plugs, headphones, computer, phone, and books. I tried to think ahead of any needs that might arise and how to prevent, or soothe them. I thought I had it all covered, and I almost did. The one thing I did not account for was overstimulation from smells, sounds, and sights involving food. Everything went great the first couple of days, but when the conference started on Friday things changed. He did great hanging out in the hallways, meeting new people, working on his laptop, and then we went to lunch. Lunch was at Reading Terminal Market, and for those who have never been or heard of it, it is a large marketplace of every kind of food imaginable. The upside is that there is something for everyone, the downside is all the smells and sounds of everything become very overwhelming very quickly. J made it through lunch and we stopped at a place for hot chocolate and he started to get queasy. We stepped outside and J proceeded to vomit. Poor kid, it was all just too much for him to take in. We tried the next day to take everything down a notch for lunch, but he still got sick. Sunday was much better, as we were out and about town and not at a conference with 2000 attendees.
I think it is extremely important to look back on these kinds of trips to identify triggers so that I can help him overcome them, or even prevent them. Not all triggers can be avoided, but as a parent I think it is important to prepare my kiddo for how to combat these triggers. It is also important to praise our kiddos for all the hard work they put in to making progress. In the moment of chaos it is really easy to notice all the negative going on, but it is important to take a step back and realize how far our kids have come, and that they are learning to cope. J worked really hard this weekend on making sure that he managed his anxieties so that he could have a good time. This was a big deal! All in all I came out of this weekend proud of J beyond belief! He had a blast, and I know the weekend was not easy, but he took it all in stride! I have never been more happy to call him my son! Here are some photos from our fun this weekend!