The zoo.

Like most children, my girl loves the zoo!
She loves animals.
Every kind of animal.
She seems to connect with them.
She seems to understand them.
She shows a great amount of empathy for animals that she doesn’t show for humans.

She loves the movement they make.
For hours she can watch the monkeys jumping through the trees, giggling when they fall off or fight with their friends!
She always comments on their eyes…. big, how bright, how cute.
I find this fascinating when she finds it so, so difficult to look into our eyes.
I wonder why it is easier for her to understand animals?

My girl is very tactile and loves to touch.
I thought she would find the zoo difficult as every animal is kept behind a safety barrier.
She said she wanted to touch them, to give them a stroke, but understood that she couldn’t because of the dangers.
She did try a few times, and did get nibbled by a small creature, but on the whole she did really well.
Ironically, in the one area we could touch some of the farm animals, she was very hesitant.

People with autism often have difficulty with ‘flexibility of imagination’ which means they have a hard time picturing how things might be different.
This presents as a problem in a zoo as you cannot predict animal behaviour.
I had prepared my girl by telling her what animals were on show.
What I forgot to explain, is that we might not always get to see them.
Her logic dictated that the animals were at the zoo for people to look at, as I had explained, so they had to be there for all to see.
Luckily she understood.
Her knowledge of animals and their behaviours were far greater than I knew, and she was able to tell me they were nocturnal, or liked hiding etc.

It was chilly and it rained.
That suited my girl.
The zoo was very quiet.
That suited us all.
Her Grandad was zoo keeper for the day as a birthday treat.
My girl was absolutely fascinated watching him get to interact with the animals.
She was engrossed in the talks that were given.
She was a star!

It is no suprise that her life goal is to become a vet.
Animals are always going to be close to my girls heart.
She seems to have such a connection with them.
Such an understanding for them.
I watch her communicate with animals in a way I thought I would never see.


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