Me and my girl and boy, raising awareness and acceptance of autism

We’ve had a lovely afternoon today, attending a birthday party at Thames Valley Adventure Playground in Taplow, Berkshire.

It’s a bus and then a train ride away for us, then a walk but it’s so worth it!

My revisited post tonight (below) is the first one I wrote about Taplow.

I have never seen D so happy or relaxed in an external place as she is there.

Here’s some pictures. We went for a birthday party for one of D’s classmates, it was his birthday in March but the party today which caused a bit of confusion for both the birthday boy and D as to how old he was, was it another birthday etc?

An excited D as we neared the station:

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We always have to see the fish first, always:

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Just some of the structures outside:

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Soft play and ball pit time:

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Some play pictures, I put my phone away once the children arrived as wanted to enjoy watching them relaxed and also chat to the parents:

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The weather was nice enough for the children to have their party food outside and no major skirmishes etc, which was fantastic.

Tired but happy D tonight and I’ve promised myself we’ll try and visit more often.

Here’s some more information about Taplow in tonight’s revisited post:

A VERY Special Adventure Playground – Thames Valley Adventure Playground, Taplow

Normally when D goes to a party – on the rare occasions she gets asked – I spend the whole time “on patrol”, watching her constantly and risk-assessing her actions and those of the (mainly NT) children around her.

Not so with trips to Taplow, the most stressful part of the day was the bus into town, the quick shop in town and then the train to Taplow and even then, because she knew where she was going, her excitement overcame her anxieties.

Today’s post is about where we went – Thames Valley Adventure Playground, for children and adults with special needs.

This is the website http://www.tvap.co.uk and this is the information from the leaflet:

“since 1982, the Thames Valley Adventure Playground has offered an exceptional range of adventurous, therapeutic and educational play activities, catering for both children and adults with all types of disability, however mild or profound, in a safe, caring and stimulating environment.

The Playground experience is totally unique and offers something for everyone. It has no formal catchment area, with over 13,600 visits made each year by users who come from a wide area around the Thames Valley and beyond. They visit with families and as individuals, or with groups from schools, playschemes, day centres and residential units.

An OFSTED-registered day care facility, the Playground is run by a voluntary Board of Trustees. On-site care is provided by 5 full time and 10 sessional staff, supported by a loyal band of volunteers.

With annual costs currently running in excess of £300,000, and with as little as 5% of its income coming from local authority grants, the Playground relies heavily on the support of local people, organisations and the local community.
Registered Charity Number 278336.

The Playground is open to anyone with a special need and their family.”

Okay, that’s the information bit over. This place is WONDERFUL. I could write for pages about the activities that are there but the bonuses for me, as D’s Mumma are:

TVAP is only open to those with a special need child or adult in their family. Therefore anyone who goes there is aware of the challenges and delights that parenting a SN child brings. There are no withering looks, no stares, no comments.

The children seem to sense that they are safe there. The first time I went, I was amazed that parents were sitting around laughing and chatting whilst their children were running off, out of sight but the Playground has that effect, it’s such a relaxed environment. D always likes to keep me in sight and vice versa but there is plenty of scope to sit, relax and appreciate it.

The whole experience is a sensory delight for D. The toilets, for example, are all spacious, NO hand dryers and designed to be quickly and easily opened from the exterior if need be but at the same time, respectful of privacy.

Whilst the children were having their party food (I’d taken D a lunchbox natch – my “cannot defer from what I normally eat” child), we all sat there, watching our individual children but saying how grateful we were that the Playground was there.

D goes there every couple of weeks or so with her school, which is how we came to know about it and it is a very popular place to hold a SN birthday party.

I’d love it if as many people who read this could RT it, even if you live nowhere near it, there may be someone who follows you, that does. It’s such a wonderful place, it provides such a “sanctuary” for children and parents alike and I’m so grateful that it’s there.

The website details are above, advance booking is essential (01628 628599) and they do ask for a small contribution toward the cost of each visit – it’s well worth it!

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A great day, one that we’ll aim to replicate over the summer.

T’s had an excellent day, his football team won their game this morning and are top of their league, the end-of-season medals are in sight! He’s very tired but very happy (as is Hubbie, one of their coaches).

Hope everyone’s had a good day, comments/RTs/shares as ever welcomed, thanks for reading Jx 😘

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