A day at the beach ~ to many of us this sounds like great fun, but for others just the thought of it can be overwhelming. We all know that experiences aren’t experienced in universal ways. It’s important to reflect on that and to plan for differences when preparing for AND engaging in any “special outing.” So many summer environments are SO different than our typical day-to-day places and happenings. They are often super complex from a sensory standpoint (even if they are super FUN), and those sensory complexities influence both energy regulation and communication abilities for many.
This support – A Day at the Beach: “GOs” and “NOs” is designed to support both energy regulation and communication. Of course, we started with one idea and it grew into many. You will find 4 sections included in this download. The first page is a support for partners of autistic individuals to familiarize themselves with the intent of these visuals and how best to use them (e.g., the NOs and GOs for the partner, if you will). There is a clear reminder that smiling doesn’t always equate to a person having fun. JÂcqûelyn has distinct memories of people commenting on how much fun she must be having at the beach when she was small based upon her smile, while being frozen, unable to move or speak in absolute overwhelm…during which times, her energy response is a big, toothy (gritted) smile. On this page there are also two large “buttons” that may be a helpful in the moment on the beach support for your autistic loved one to be able to access.
The second page is a tool that helps individuals identify “NOs” and GOs” with respect sensory experiences, activities, tools and strategies. It can be used by partners to ask questions / offer choices. It can also be used as a communication board by an individual to express their own ideas, preferences and needs.
The third page is a “core” board for the beach for individuals who might want to convey more complex information related to their experiences at the beach while they are there. It also includes some key messages to make sure that basic needs are considered. Of course, the board can also be used by partners to model communicating information, as well as to offer choices.The fourth and fifth pages are a Beach-themed and a blank version of the Autism Level UP! Regulator. Those of you who are familiar with our work and the Regulator will know that we use this framework to investigate for ourselves or with a person what their experiences are. You’ll note that there are many, many aspects of the beach that we have included…some we are sure neurotypical partners may not even consider (e.g., food smells! Proximity to such things can make or break a fun day). Of course, there are many others, and many other summer activities – hence, the blank version 🙂