Socially safe

Charlies got his schools sponsored walk this afternoon… Hope he manages to stay awake for it – he was still awake at 1.30 this morning! Not sure what he was up to exactly but he was hiding my mobile phone somewhere in his bed so i think he was watching videos… Lots of laughing could be heard!
He’s been spending a lot of time in his room this last week – in some respects its been quite nice – out of sight and out of mind. No major destruction episodes. His laptop is back from the repairers so I think that’s been keeping him entertained – so much so that he’d rather stay in than even go out for a dog walk or bike ride.
Life must be quite boring for him, although I’m not sure that he realises just what he’s missing out on. At 13 years old Harry was socialising with friends, sleep overs, meeting friends in town for shopping and subways, parties and discos and in the summer we wouldn’t think anything strange of him disappearing down the beach with his mates for the entire day. Both harry and May have enjoyed hobbies throughout their childhood – football and bmx for Harry and dancing/singing for May – but Charlie has never really experienced any of these things.
I wish there was something out there that was just right for him – safe and with experienced staff. He occasionally goes to ‘fun club’ which is a play association in Bournemouth. They are well equipped with a quiet room, activities space, big outdoor adventure playground, kitchen and tuck shop. Their staff are trained and experienced to caring for children with special needs and are fully inclusive to all children so great for Charlie’s social interaction skills, although Charlie doesn’t interact with the other children when he’s there – preferring to play alone. They open every weekend and during the school holidays. Its a real shame that the Borough of Poole hasn’t got a similar provision…. 
Even so – its not really a hobby or interest… Last year we tried out the Harbour Challenge – a lovely group of volunteers take children like Charlie over to Brownsea Island to learn water sports such a kayaking or sailings. I accompanied him as it was a completely new experience. He was happy travelling over there but got totally stressed out by the safety rules and clothes (life jacket) and did an runner – I had to chase him half way across the island ringing the instructor on my mobile as I went explaining that I didn’t think that I’d make it back! All was not lost as the 2 of us had a nice day exploring the island, hunting peacocks and finding suitable twigs to imitate Hogwarts style wands!
I’m sure Charlie would enjoy these activities if he just gave it a chance – but any new experience is daunting and frightening for him and, as far as he is concerned, better off avoided.
So for now we will stick with Charlie’s chosen ‘safe’ activities – shopping in Lidl is his favourite social activity at the moment – I have to say the staff in there are great with him – they all know him by name and even let him work the checkout!


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