As our tour guide, Tomas, said, “And now we will descend into the underground cave system, so please turn on your headlamps as we explore the Rio Secreto,” my mind raced with anxiety and trepidation. Our family vacations can be amazing and fun, but also challenging at times, because our son has Autism.
Before we started the tour, I pulled Tomas aside and mentioned my son’s diagnosis. I wanted Tomas to be prepared if my husband and I had to take some extra time with my son, and talk him through his anxiety. Tomas was completely understanding, and said he would work with us to make sure everyone has an amazing experience.
So as we headed into the underground caves, into complete darkness, my mind was going over all of the possible scenarios in which my son’s Autism could impact our excursion. Would he have anxiety about being in an enclosed space? Anxiety about being in darkness? Would the water temperatures of the Secret River be too cold for him?
Luck was on our side for the Rio Secreto excursion! The only issue my son had was when Tomas asked us all to turn off our headlamps and experience complete and total darkness. I was worried complete darkness would make him extremely anxious, but since we were all holding hands, he did just fine!
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