Zoo Keeper for a day..
Some days are good, some days are bad. Today, was unforgettable!
For his Birthday Jaiden was given a “Zoo keeper for a day” experience at Australia Zoo called “Khaki Sensory”, which is a program specifically designed for Children with additional needs.
All I can say, is WOW! What an amazing day. Our day was run by Sue, a special needs teacher herself. Having the day facilitated by someone whojust ‘gets it’ made the day an awesome experience. There were 8 children in the group, all of which were accomanied by parents who know the realities of life with children on the spectrum and the challenges it brings. This made it such a relaxed experience for the adults as well. I am sure many ASD parents can relate to the comfort you feel when you’re around other Autism parents, it’s a type of comfort and acceptance that we’re certainly not used to. It’s a strange, but lovely kind of connection.
The day started with Jaiden clenching my hand and looking around nervously, I really thought it was going to be one of ‘those’ outings, despite all of the time I’d spent trying to prepare Jaiden for the experience. 20mins in and he was not interested in me and instead shadowing Sue as she ushered them from one experience to the next. Other than 1 child who struggled with the noise at the croc show, there was not a single meltdown, no being overwhelmed and refusing to participate and no feeling pressured. Whilst it was awesome to see Jaiden doing so well, seeing other kids step out of their comfort zone was very much a highlight for me.
Props to Australia Zoo for creating such an awesome program, you’ve left a little boy and his dad everlasting memories. Also, a huge thanks to Carly for buying it for Jaiden for his birthday.