Celebrating a Victory: for Autism Parenting As Much As Football

Many of you know that Hubby is a sports broadcaster, an unusually lucky one who’s now called four Super Bowls and appeared in three victory Duck Boat parades.

Until this year, our son didn’t want to participate in the parades. He’s on the spectrum, and we’ve learned the hard way that parades, crowds, and loud places are really really bad for him. There was the Easter Egg Hunt held indoors for weather where he ended up in a far corner on the floor in the fetal position. Birthday parties and soccer games where he’s bolted.

Sensory issues are super common in autism, and we accept that if we’re going to be somewhere loud and crowded, we better plan an “out”. For past football events, we’ve always had an escape, either the back of the broadcast booth or Daddy’s office under the stadium. But the Duck Boat Parade is continuous stimulation, in a moving open vehicle surrounded by 1.5 million screaming Bostonians and blaring music and constant confetti.

Plus, the bathroom issue. I don’t highlight this often anymore, because Babyboy is getting older, and I don’t want to embarrass him. But suffice to say we’ve just cancelled plans if it seemed unlikely we’d have access to a private bathroom.

So we were surprised when Hubby offered to take the kids on the victory lap, as he always does, and both jumped up in enthusiastic acceptance.

True, Babyboy has been more interested in the game, and did stay awake for the entire Super Bowl. Still, we explained in detail how the parade usually is, and what exactly to expect, peppered with a lot of “Are you SURE?” And yes, he was still in!

So in the morning, I headed off to work with some trepidation, leaving Hubby and the kids to enjoy the day. Or not.

This is how it turned out.

Hubby’s Facebook Post:


TV shot:

It was almost 7 pm when I got home and we could debrief. Hubby’s first comment: “It was an AMAZING day!” My first question: “Any bathroom issues?”

But everything went well, even with record crowd turnout and even higher noise levels than usual. The backpacks stuffed with strategic snacks, drinks, books, and noise-cancelling headphones were helpful. The magnanimous and understanding Patriots Cheerleaders were super-helpful. And as Hubby put it: “The kids were just great, really great.”

We don’t know when (or if) we’ll have another Patriots Victory Parade. But we’ll always remember this one!

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