You can show the world that ‘everyone gets to go’, simply by showing up. Your presence strengthens your family, and the community.
Temple Gradin once said that the most important thing people did for her was exposing her to new things. Grandin, currently a faculty member with Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Colorado State University, is one of the first individuals on the autism spectrum to document the insights she gained from her personal experience with autism.
According to the National Autistic Society, 70% of families impacted by autism are socially isolated. Many families impacted by other disabilities have the same plight. It’s easy to stay home. While activities outside of the house seem difficult and unpredictable, we urge you and your family to make leaving your home a priority. Studies show that doing so is extremely important, not only because it exposes the individual with a disability to new things, but it enhances the growth of the entire family and the community.
An article entitled Growing Up Alongside a Sibling with a Disability by the New York Times says that isolation is one the major issues that siblings of children with autism and intellectual disabilities face. Siblings of isolated families exhibit a pattern of loneliness, peer problems and depression, from as young as age five. Part of the solution to mitigate this potential behavior is through regular integration into society.
The article’s study also noted that some children experienced less resentment toward their special-needs siblings if their family did one of two things. First, families should set equal expectations of all siblings as best they can with respect to behavior and chores, for example. Second, they should have a family life that revolves around something other than the disability. This could be a shared activity like camping or music, or an organization or faith community in which the whole family can participate.
Society learns how to serve the disability community better when we decide show up. And, communities are significantly uplifted and unified when they make conscious efforts towards the inclusion of all unique individuals. Pal Experiences makes it easier for families impacted by disabilities to be present by lightening the anxiety that comes with venturing off to new places. We partner with popular businesses, events, venues and recreational sites which become Pal Places – safe spaces for people with disabilities, sensory limitations, and anxiety inducing traumas to explore comfortably.
Pal Places provide ‘know before you go’ accessibility tools to guests with developmental disabilities. Our Empowering Resources include a custom video showcasing a social story, digital guides, and on-site resources that decrease anxiety by explaining what to expect, ultimately supporting people with developmental disabilities and the ones closest to them.
Remember, it is infinitely easier to stay home, but life happens outside. We are committed to your inclusion, and hope that you find our resources useful in getting out into the world more often.