When you are the parent of a special needs child, no matter what the diagnosis or level of adaptation, you look at mainstream activities differently. You carefully check the rules for every Mother's Day Out and VBS to see if your child doesn't meet any of the criteria. You make a point to speak to the head of whatever program you like and let them know details about your child to see if they are able to handle what comes with your little darling. The best thing that you can hear is "Of course they can come!" What people don't realize is the second best phrase we can hear.
"I'm sorry. We can't accommodate your child's needs."
It sounds counter intuitive, but this is actually a good thing...as long as you tell us BEFORE we put down deposits, get our routine-loving children into going somewhere new and make time in our already packed schedules for another possible socialization-skills-building activity.
If you work with kids at a church or other location, please understand how important it is to us as parents to hear that you understand our childrens' extra needs. Just because a child is three does not mean that he talks or is potty trained. A four year old might become agitated if Mama does not leave quickly enough because school is for teachers and home is for Mamas in her mind. If we give you a label for our children and you don't fully understand what they need then ASK QUESTIONS. Tell us no. We've heard "no" before and we're OK with hearing it again.