How gardening helped my autistic son to blossom

I was going to write about compost this month and the different techniques I’ve been using to produce more gardening ‘gold’ for my plot. Then I found out it’s World Autism Awareness Week and I couldn’t resist writing about my fabulous autistic son and the many therapeutic benefits of gardening instead.

In the few years since Arthur’s diagnosis (he’s nearly seven) my family and I have been through a lot with our youngest son. We have found that like most (if not all) non-neurotypical children, he is happiest outside. Arthur is a charmingly happy little boy most of the time anyway, but he’s utterly in his element when either walking or doing things in the open air.

Over time, the garden has become a bit like an open sensory room, only better - with crunchy gravel and slate pathways that make a delightful sound when you walk along them, tons of wildlife and many, many sounds, smells and sensory appealing details and areas to explore besides. When we’ve had people over and Arthur’s had a meltdown, the garden is where we’ve gone and he is almost instantly calmed. In the early days when getting him to eat much of a healthy nature was often tricky, a little forage in the garden worked wonders. It made the process of eating more interesting to him, and meant that now (thankfully) he continues to eat a wide range of fruit and vegetables.

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