Confession time: I don't always include Ashlea in family activies.
Sometimes I think it is justified that the other children have 'a turn' at being the centre of attention. Sometimes I know Ashlea will hate something so I leave her at home. But sometimes it is just too darn hard.
A couple of examples for you. We went to the zoo last week. I could have gotten Ashlea out of the pram at every exhibit to try and show her the animals. But I didn't have the energy to lift her out just to point out something she probably couldn't see anyway....so I didn't. She spent most of the time sitting quietly - a miracle surely - in the pram with the sunshade right down over her so she wouldn't get sunburnt.
Mind you I should have probably realised that the zoo isn't an ideal outing for the vision impaired!
Another example. Yesterday we spent the afternoon in the wading pool. Emma, Audrey and I got in. Ashlea stayed inside watching Night Garden.
In my defense it was too hot to have her outside (and the water was too cold to take her in - she is soft like me and will only get in if the water has been warming in the sun for a few hours first). Ashlea really doesn't cope well in the heat, so at the moment I can't even take her out into the backyard in her walker or wheelchair as it is just too hot (crazy hot - 43 degrees here yesterday - that's 109 for you folks in the northern hemisphere).
There are many more situations I can think of where I don't go the extra mile to include her fully.
Guilt. Guilt. Guilt.
How far out of your way do you go to make sure your SN child participates in all your family activities???
It is so hard to balance family life so that every child gets a turn! I feel guilty for not always including Ashlea, but then I also feeling guilty for all the things Emma and Audrey miss out on altogether because it is too hard to manage with Ashlea.
For example - we have NEVER been to the beach as a family (I know...how can I call myself an Australian???). Ashlea would hate everything about it. And when she hates something that means that one person has to devote their entire attention to trying to console her. Which makes the rest of the trip difficult - especially if you need 2 adults to take your other 2 children swimming. Sometimes we will take an extra adult with us - but it can still be extremely stressful if Ashlea howls the entire time. Which has happend. Many times.
Stress and Guilt.
A friend of mine has had respite for her son during the holidays and has used the time to do activities with her other boys. Even that would make me feel guilty. Ashlea would be horrified if I left her at home with a carer and went out with her sisters. And yet she'd be horrified if I took her to some of the places her sisters would like to go - for example the movies.
So, where is the balance. I feel like I should be striving to include Ashlea all the time, but, like I said, sometimes it is just too hard.