I am a parent. I am not on the autism spectrum. Many instances in the grandiose city of New York I felt like I imagined my daughter feels when she’s overwhelmed.

Finding ways to enjoy the Big Apple while on the autism spectrum can be more than challenging…  But I, the parent, made so many plans, contacted so many people and remained as flexible as I could… Thomais, the Ambassador of #Autism Tourism, was going to have fun no matter what…

And guess what?? She did… I did as well.

How you ask? We took it all in. We were marveled by the buzzing sounds. We were ecstatic with the constant motion. We were drowned by the beauty of so much concrete in one place – yes, in many places it is actually beautiful!

And how did she react —

— by wanting to go non-stop for 4 days and realizing she has partially overcome the fear of heights when she boarded a plane – first time in almost 6 years

— by appreciating her Greek roots and realizing she belongs to the Universe – thanks to Grand Central Station’s main concourse

— by admiring Lady Liberty from Battery Park and understanding the weather was not going to help that day and stopped us from getting closer

— by wanting to climb every big rock in Central Park

— by understanding it was a big deal to meet Dakota Fanning at the United Nations

— by being thrilled and thankful when Emily Smith, Editor of Page Six (NY Post) invited her to lunch at Serendipity3 (and Signore Calderone was incredible spoiling her with goodies)

— by wanting to see Times Square during the day and at night

— by wanting to go tour the city even though she had woken up at 4:30 a.m., had spent 2hrs getting to the apartment from the airport

— by making her mom climb four floors – carrying suitcases – because elevators are still on the list of fears (and mom graciously complied)

— by having a huge day on Friday April 6 — Enjoying Lunch with Emily, going to the Central Park Zoo, playing in 3 different playgrounds, checking out the Carousel, eating her first meal at McD (not proud – best alternative and a bathroom!!! = being practical), going to see the show Air Play by AcroBuffos at the New Victory Theather = highly recommended. Finally… accepting she could not walk anymore but she sat down and took in the vibe in Times Square for about 1hr…

Yes, my daughter was capable of doing all of this and more… I could not be more proud. I could not be more delighted. I can now breathe at ease.

And those moments that most autism parents know too well — when she was on the verge of a meltdown… I knew it, she knew it. Food did not tame it. Autism was ready to creep out and destroy the magical moment… She held herself stoically and stood her ground when I reminded her — No meltdowns, I know you are tired. What do you want to do? We continue or we go back to the apartment? She immediately answered – we continue. I then proceeded to plan D – provided what was needed, sought a quiet spot, paused and she continued. We helped each other. She conquered autism.



  • More entries soon — American Museum Natural History, Challenges, Who helped?, What helped?, Her needs/My needs and more!!