Day 2: Adventuring at centre parks.

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This morning started really well. Last night one of my friends and I agreed that we would cycle to the shop together in the morning while another friend cooked breakfast for the group.

This was for two reasons, first we needed a few things from the shop. Secondly, the fire alarms go off easily when cooking and the noise is really really bad for me. The last two years I’ve had shutdowns at centre parks due to fire alarms so this year were being more careful.

Anyway the cycle was fun and in the shop I got a book of space facts. It was on offer and was fun. More bonus points for the trike. With the big cargo shelf we were able to bring back the single use barbecues easily!

I don’t want a trike at home, but I like it here. It’s useful while also being fun :) it’s slow but that’s no bad things. Also when I am derpy I can focus on steering and not balance. That was super useful today!

After the trip out we all ate breakfast. Then we picked activities. Tomorrow I’m going quad biking (squeeee!) but today we booked indoor climbing (12:20am) and table tennis (8pm).

Rock Climbing.

Rock climbing was fun sort of. It’s the first time I have been I can remember and it was really challenging. It was a largish group but my friend went with me.

We think that everyone at centre parks has been on the same autism awareness course! We explain to the instructors and they understand things like ear defenders and the need to be specific with the instructions. We are really impressed.

With rock climbing it was simple enough. They clip you in, you go up then lean back and the automatic system lowers you back.

There were a few walls which were different. On those you had to go up and down by yourself. I didn’t understand the reason but I knew the rule so good enough.

The first wall I tried was a bit hard. It was the racing wall, good people get up it in 10-20 seconds. 45 seconds in I had no idea what to do next and my heart was racing. So from about 2 meters up I tried out the automatic dropping thing. It worked fine.

So many new experiences. I stopped and watched my friend climb for a bit while I sort of thought about it and how it felt.

The instructor then explained one of the other walls was simpler. So I strapped on to cable there and stared to climb up. I went about half way before I felt really muddled.

To try and figure out which hand where, which leg next etc etc requires lots of focus.

I went back to the bottom, then sat and looked. I planned a route up.

Second go I got to the top. It’s pretty scary. It’s about 8m up and I am clinging on with my fingers.

After I got to the top I jumped off and slowly came down. I was rather muddled and ended up landing in a heap but ah well.

I did another wall later. It was made of tyres. You had to climb up and down it. So I first climbed 1/3rd up then, climbed down. This was to make sure I was as (un)comfortable going down as I was going up. Both were terrifying. But at least equally terrifying :)

I wanted to test first, rather than find out how hard going down is only when I was at the top!

The second time I got to the top. My friends where cheering and took some photos. I held on tight.

I then came back down slowly, was unclipped and sat in the corner for a bit with lion. I was feeling horribly floaty and lion is heavy. I forgot to wear my pressure vest doh.

The Poles.

The worst and best part was the poles. It’s like a staircase made of foam covered poles. They went up very high.

The task was to walk up them. Then leap of the top!

A few others did it before me, then it was my go. I was clipped in and up I climbed.

All of my friends had come to watch for this bit. It was rather a rush. I was both scared and excited and a whole bunch of other feelings. Oddly no elephants. I kinda saw it as I would fail or succeed. Neither outcome was bad.

The penultimate pole was easy. I could put my hands on the last pole as I stepped to it. But the last pole was both the biggest step and nothing to hold.

First, I stopped holding the last step so I was upright on the last pole. The pole wobbled. Eeeeep.

Perched on the pole before last I looked at the step. I pictured me stepping on it in my head.

I then slowed down the video of me stepping on it in my head. Watching for how. Once I’d seen myself do it in my head and how I then did it with my body for real. I made a plan :)

This is a technique I learnt from TaeKwonDo. It sounds a bit crazy, but most of the TaeKwonDo stuff I don’t do from my perspective. I imagine myself doing it from the outside first. Then I copy what the imaginary version of myself was doing.

It was wobbly on the pole. My friends cheered and I stepped off.

The system caught me and I landed gently in a heap. From the moment I stepped off the top I was thinking 9.89 meters per second per second and thinking about how fast I need to go before the system acts as a brake.

It’s kinda nice to know that when pushed my brain resorts to maths for comfort.

By this point I was completely out of spoons. I was unclipped, I got lion and my bag and curled up on the edge of the climbing area for a bit. I don’t know how long I was curled up for. The session ended and we got changed. I was a bit slow but I did my jacket myself etc. It’s sort of a point of pride. I hate it when when people help me dress. I’m not fast but I can do it myself!

We then went to the swings for a bit. Then went to get a drink.

While we were having a drink some ducks walked over and we fed then. I was really derpy.

We cycled back (yay trike!) but i was exhausted. I got back and went for a nap and slept for a few hours.


After my nap I found 3 of my friends in the lounge. A few others had gone for a swim.

One of my friends and I then made a plan to cycle to the Lego shop. I enjoyed playing Lego last night so I thought a small model for today would be good too.

We cycled over (yay trike) and got some Lego.

We then walked to the cycle centre. Got some gloves. For the zebra crossing we decided white was lava and jumped the white bits! Hehe.

With my friends I trust I tend to just hold hands on link arms. I feel better, they feel better and we get where we are going quicker. This use to annoy me. I use to think it was ‘naughty’ but these days I don’t mind. If I didn’t do the ‘naughty’ things which help (sippy cups, holding hands, etc etc) then I wouldn’t do as much cool stuff as I’d have no energy

We then cycled back and I had another nap.

When I came out everyone was playing a board game so I started building a Lego fire truck.

Ping Pong

At 8pm we went to ping pong. It was the same place as the climbing. I came 2nd (!) but I think people were letting me win a bit.

It started very loud but by the time we finished at 9pm everyone else had left and the music was off. Much better.

We then cycled home and the BBQ was lit before we got back. I had another nap.

We have all eaten now and I am getting ready for bed. My friends are finishing their board games.

final words.

Today has been good. Lots of adventures. I feel very achey but I have smiled lots today too.

Tomorrow we’re going quad biking in the morning. And swimming in the afternoon and then out for a meal in the evening with naps in between.

I like centre parks. It feels safe and there are 5 friends I trust here all of which I know will keep me safe.

The general family friendliness also makes it pretty friendly for us too. No one seems to mind if I am derpy or slow to do things. I can go at my pace and not be rushed which is waaaay nicer :)

I’m going to stop writing now and see if my friend have won the game. They were being chased by zombies last time I checked……


Spaced Out & Smiling is about exploring the fun side of Autism, and trying to understand what it means to be Autistically Happy.

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Jamie: @JamieKnight
Lion: @Lickr