We are lucky enough to live a 5 minute drive away from The Eden Project in Cornwall.
It is a very popular place for the tourists to visit, but as a family we go very little.
Every school holidays they put on some activities for the children to participate in.
We tried to do it one year but there were just too many people and it turned into the most scary day of my life.
Eden Project had a dinosaur invasion!
My girl absolutely loves dinosaurs, and we were so excited!
We, and about 500 others, were waiting in a biome to spot the giant creature.
My girl, already sat with her hands over her ears, was kicking out constantly.
She was sat in her wheelchair, my son sat on a wall by my side.
We heard the loud roars and the dinosaur appeared.
I turned around to check my son (5 at the time) was ok, turned back and my girl was gone.
Panic. Sheer, utter, undescribable panic.
I looked all around but couldn’t see her through the hundreds of people.
I was shouting and shouting, but no one could hear over the crowds.
My boy was crying and screaming, wanting his sister.
I ran, I looked, I cried, I screamed….
….and then, as I glanced past a no entry sign, there she was scrunched up in a little ball with her hands on her ears.
My poor, poor girl.
It had all become too much.
She was unreachable, lost in a complete meltdown of her senses.
That was a day I will never forget, but a day I learnt a lot from.
We vowed never to go in a school holiday again. Ever.
We noticed that The Eden Project had started to offered ‘Relaxed Sessions’.
These sessions are for “children with autism spectrum condition, sensory and communication needs or learning disabilities who may benefit from a more informal experience.”
The places were pre-bookable at no extra cost to the usual admission fee (or free if you have purchased a locals pass).
The session had a limit of 100 people who had exclusive access to the games and activities, before the gates were open to the public at 9.30am.
We went today for the Easters Eggstravangza and it was amazing!
No crowds, no loud music, no queues, rules were relaxed on the games….it was genuinely perfect for my girl.
The staff were kind, chatty and extremely understanding.
The whole experience was fantastic.
It was the first time EVER that we have had no meltdown at Eden!
If you have a child with additional needs, I would highly recommend these sessions.
We also attended a session at Christmas to see Santa, and it was truly magical.
I wonder if places like this understand just how much these sessions mean to us.
The show of awareness and acceptance, an unwritten rule that we can come and just be ourselves.
We struggle so, so much with days out that when opportunities like this come up we jump at the chance.
Thank you Eden Project, for an amazing morning.
Thank you Eden Project for raising Autism Awareness.