A Free Pass

A short while back, Autism with a Side of Fries asked a question, regarding things you’ve found that work well with our kids and whether or not you share them out.  I was upfront with responding that I don’t ever hold back on any places that I find work well or accommodate my Monster nicely.  I remember what it was like – and I’m constantly reminded when I find some place new – to not know of anything that lets us have something that’s a semblance of a normal life…

And on the flip side, there’s when I boggle at how folks don’t seem to know of some of the resources that exist.

One of these hidden gems in Baltimore is the Arc Baltimore’s Parents Day Out.  As they describe it themselves:

Time for you! Parents’ Day Out is held at four different locations 10-12 times per year for parents or caregivers of children ages 3 to 14 with developmental disabilities. We have competent, trained, loving people just waiting to play games, do crafts, play ball, or just read with your child while you are out relaxing or doing those needed chores.

It’s really as simple as it sounds – you sign up, and on the day in question, you can drop your child with developmental disabilities between the ages of 3 and 15 off at a particular site (usually a church), where they’ll play with the kids, do art, and the like.  You can drop off their siblings in the same age bracket as well.  It’s four hours of care – 9 AM to 1 PM – which isn’t a whole lot of time, but it’s certainly enough to, say, go catch Disney’s Cinderella and grab a brisk lunch before coming back to get them.  (Because that’s not at all how we used it yesterday, no…)  Or, perhaps, for some enterprising dad to drop his son off before running across town to play gabbai at shul, and then coming back to get him…

And I’d thought, honestly, that folks knew about the opportunity.  After all, we’ve been doing it for several years, and the wife took advantage of it when I was at a bonspiel to get a a break from the kids, and they mention it every time I go to my dads’ support group, Guys Talk.

But that’s before the phone rang last night.  Would we be interested in using Parents’ Day Out this weekend?  There are spots available, and…

There were six or seven kids total yesterday at the program, counting both the Monster and R.  They can take up to fifteen.

I don’t know if it’s just that parents don’t know any more about the program, or if they aren’t availing themselves of the opportunity, or what.  It seems like a no-brainer to me.

And now, for my local readers who didn’t know about it… now you know. 🙂

2 thoughts on “A Free Pass

  1. Another great and free resource for the Jewish community: MDSNAP (Maryland Special Needs Advocacy Program). Consult with an (amazing, super knowledgeable) advocate, who can also accompany you to IFSP / IEP meetings. We would not have an appropriate IEP and services for our son (who is on the spectrum) if not for MDSNAP. More info (including contacts) at https://www.cjebaltimore.org/mdsnap

    • No, definitely, MDSNAP is a great resource too. We’ve used an advocate from them in prior IEP meetings. (And our advocate is the person who put me in touch with MDLC to be a representative to the Baltimore City Parents and Community Advisory Board.)

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