Camping with Autism

JeepMama

Super Active Member
Jun 10, 2011
2,424
vincent228 said:
My 10 year old daughter is an aspie.
her issue is "trying" to make freinds.
we just came back from our maiden voyage where she was ignored, snubbed, and walked away from by several kids that seemed to be the "pack" that stays the entire season.

i guess their sheltered lives have drained them of empathy toward others.

what a shame.

it is a shame, so sorry [:!] Our friends have a son with autism, he has younger sibs, and their friends are his friends. I never thought how hard it would be for them to make friends in new situations like that.
 

vjlarson

Super Active Member
May 31, 2011
1,286
vincent228 said:
My 10 year old daughter is an aspie.
her issue is "trying" to make freinds.
we just came back from our maiden voyage where she was ignored, snubbed, and walked away from by several kids that seemed to be the "pack" that stays the entire season.

i guess their sheltered lives have drained them of empathy toward others.

what a shame.

That is very sad. Kids can be so hurtful... and yet none of them like being left out.
 

Orchid

Sharp Shootin' Grandma
May 8, 2011
5,832
Florida by way of WV and MD
vincent228 said:
My 10 year old daughter is an aspie.
her issue is "trying" to make freinds.
we just came back from our maiden voyage where she was ignored, snubbed, and walked away from by several kids that seemed to be the "pack" that stays the entire season.

i guess their sheltered lives have drained them of empathy toward others.

what a shame.

Places with seasonal sites are probably not the best idea for kids like these. The regulars likely have their own little cliques already formed.

That being said, people need to raise their kids better than that. I know kids can be inherently mean, which is all the more reason for parents to start teaching empathy when they're very young.

Sorry your daughter had a bad experience. I hope she has better ones in the future.
 

Xolthrax

Franconia, Pa.
we just came back from our maiden voyage where she was ignored, snubbed, and walked away from by several kids that seemed to be the "pack" that stays the entire season.

Quite frankly, I've felt that way as an adult sometimes among seasonal campers. Don't get me wrong, many of them are wonderful people, but I often get the impression that they band together and actually resent the transient campers.

I'm sorry that you're daughter had to experience this. It's sad that any parent would raise a child to behave that way.
 

basspaul

Member
Aug 9, 2011
67
A little late noticing this thread, but for those families who have children with autism or other similar conditions, try your local Scout Troop. Many leaders are open to having children with these conditions. It will give your child a steady group of friends (with adult supervision) to do activities that would most likely include camping. I have seen personally on many occasions what a Scouting environment can do for these children, it is a sight to behold watching the child and the immense pride the parents have seeing their child thrive in whatever way they are able to. For those with ADD/ADHD, my wife's troop has seen several kids kick Ritalin (Scout age (11-14) also coincides with natural changes in the body). There is a social worker I've heard of who recommends Scouting for many of her patients. Also, if your child is behind developmentally, many Cub packs will "hold on" to a child to better reflect their situation instead of having them around a group that would be too challenging.

All this being said, don't force the situation with the Scout group (the leaders are volunteers after all) or your child...
 

cma7777

Super Active Member
Jan 26, 2011
797
North Carolina
I do not have any experience with parenting a child with autism but as the coach for my son’s baseball team I do. Last year the “new kid” had autism. By the end of the season he was no longer the “new kid” and just one of the boys. It took a little time for me to adjust as a coach and the team to adjust as well. He is now hitting homeruns just like the other boys but he just does it his own way. My guess is that in a camping environment, kids don’t have a chance to learn to know your child making it harder for them to make friends. When I take my boys camping, I try to let each of them take a friend. This makes camping much more fun for them and gives me a little more free time without them under my feet all the time because they ride their bikes and entertain each other. If I could I would take all thirteen boys from the team camping. I don’t know if it would work in your situation but if your child had someone they were already friends with along for the trip, it may make it more enjoyable for them and you.
 

Xolthrax

Franconia, Pa.
for those families who have children with autism or other similar conditions, try your local Scout Troop. Many leaders are open to having children with these conditions. It will give your child a steady group of friends (with adult supervision) to do activities that would most likely include camping. I have seen personally on many occasions what a Scouting environment can do for these children, it is a sight to behold watching the child and the immense pride the parents have seeing their child thrive in whatever way they are able to.

As a Scout Leader (Cubmaster), and District staff member, I can't thank you enough for saying that. I won't say that EVERY unit is ready for autistic childeren. Then again, I can't say that EVERY unit really follows the program as it was designed. Most Councils, and even Districts, will have resources for teaching leaders how to interact and provide for Scouts with Autism.

I have an Autistic boy in my den, and several spectrum boys in the Pack. I still relish in the innocence of children. We haven't pointed out that these boys are different (why would we?), and we have indoctrinated them to the understanding that everyone is equal. No one treats these boys any differently, or questions them for how they act. I am very careful about how much I interfere, as the boys seem quite welcoming and understanding on their own.
 

popitup84

Member
Apr 30, 2013
78
i'm going to revive this old thread to throw in my story! :) i have a 4 year old autistic son who we have been weary of taking camping...this year is the year he gets to get out into the great outdoors!! i'm very excited for him and hope he has a strong passion for camping as i do!!
 

MIPeaceDudeCamper

Active Member
Jul 12, 2012
234
That is AWESOME! I hope your family has a blast with your son and am sure you'll create a lifetime of wonderful memories. I have a 15 year old nephew with autism and he can be loud and do odd things (he is 200 pounds and 6'1" already, when he is happy he jumps in place which is fine but makes the floor of our 100 year old church shake up to 10 pews up from him :) BUT my point is he is a joy to be around and his happiness is contagious. Autism is so common now that even if you do get a few rude comments or looks you will have at least 5 other people giving you a pat on the back and encouragement that it is great you are living life and giving your son a wonderful life too. Best wishes for happy camping!
 

Nixie

Active Member
Aug 22, 2011
569
I know this post hasn't ben posted on in awhile, but I just waned to share. My son has ben recently diagnosed as high functioning autistic. I don't share this with many people, but I have Asperger's. We love camping. Having my own camper with my own things takes away the some of the anxiety of traveling to new places. My son has his own bunk that he can escape to when he feels like it. Our camping "vacations" are a lot less overwhelming for us than say a trip to a theme park or zoo or museum. Not as much sensory overload. I totally went out of my own comfort zone and attended a rally two years ago. I met a bunch of really awesome people and now returned to the rally again this year. We are actually attending another one in about a week!
 

bropaul

Super Active Member
Aug 7, 2009
4,830
My prayers go out to everyone touched by Autism. I have a brother (3 yrs. older) who was considered "retarded" in the early 50's. Although many thought (at the time) that 'they' should be institutionalized, my mother fought to keep him main stream. He did attend 'special education' classes until age 16, the limit of the states' responsibility in the 60s. Michael has lived with me and my beloved (ever patient) DH for 30 years. It wasn't until I saw an early Oprah show on Autism and the description of the symptoms 'clicked'. I called my mother and said "Michael has Autism"! Although he is considered 'high functioning', we now understand 'why' he does certain things. He is a blessing... a very loving, helpful, social person. It brings me great joy to know that research has come so far and early detection and training seems to do wonders. I can remember my mother asking the Lord, "Why?"... But I believe God doesn't make 'mistakes', he gives us challenges that make us stronger and gives us a better understanding and appreciation of life.

Diane
 

fallsrider

Super Active Member
Nov 16, 2006
1,771
NC
Our DS, 6, has autism. And he's not high-functioning. He's the most lovable little guy in the world. Thankfully, he loves the outdoors. We sold our pup in late 2010 because setup/breakdown was too hard with him. We thought a TT would be better.

We finally found a '95 26' bunkhouse model we could afford just this past Labor Day. Our first trip went great. Our back yard is fenced in (he's a runner), so we let him play in the camper almost every day. We're going out again weekend after next. Then just DW and I again 2 weeks after that.

We're thrilled that we can get him out camping again.

To all of you that can take your autistic children camping, I think that is a wonderful thing.

Ken

Sent from my ADR6400L using Tapatalk 2
 

GeorgeHahnemann

Super Active Member
Jul 19, 2012
1,174
New Carlisle,Ohio
:) I have twin grandsons who are 5yr old and autistic high-functioning. They loved our old pump, but with My health
problems We hand to sell it and went to a old Class C . So far they don't like it, they don't like change.
I hope they get to like it, So we can take them with us. They are a blast to be with! All I can do is keep trying . [:D]
 

fallsrider

Super Active Member
Nov 16, 2006
1,771
NC
I'll bet with time they will start liking your Class C. Do they live close enough where they can just play in it? Very gradual change helps sometimes.

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Nixie

Active Member
Aug 22, 2011
569
My suggestions are let them play in it. Do things like have camp driveway cook out in it where you invite them over for dinner and lunch and you cook it and eat it in the new camper. Build up to a camp driveway sleep over in it. Did they have any special blankets or pillows they used from the other camper? Make sure you move those over to the new camper. With time and a little bit of gentle coaxing, I am sure they will fall in love with the new camper too.
 

VicD

New Member
Dec 5, 2013
9
I'm a new member here - I am still doing research before we buy. But, we started tent camping with my autistic 4-year old son and he has done very well. My son has a genetic abnormality and he is developmentally delayed and I would hesitate to call him 'high functioning'. But, if we can avoid a meltdown he is pretty easy to keep happy. We also have a 10-month old boy who had a blast tent camping with us in the fall. My 12-year old nephew is autistic, too, and we brought him and my 4-year old camping together... they did great. Our family thought we were nuts, but we knew we could handle it... and we did.

There was a research study completed in the last decade that concluded children with hyperactivity and other symptoms related to autism perform better when exposed to outdoors and outdoor activities. I have absolutely found this to be true through our experiences thus far, so camping is our new weekend activity.

I will continue to share our experiences as we move forward. For example, the fantastic and inexpensive way we protected the kids from the campfire using 2-foot rebars and survey tape - it doesn't really physically hold back the kids, but it does clearly define a visual boundary, and that was all we needed to keep our curious son and nephew from getting close to the fire. Best of all, I just stepped right over it to add wood.

1463766_667953583249655_873746150_n.jpg
 

Nixie

Active Member
Aug 22, 2011
569
I love the fire safety ring! Could you maybe do a write up on the mod forum of how you made it? I know there are a lot of us with little ones that would love something like that!
 

cahillprc2

Member
Sep 2, 2011
63
Catonsville, Md
Since this thread is relative recent, I thought I would whole heartedly agree. We have two children who are now young adults who are also on the high functioning end of the spectrum. I started camping with them when they were very young and can commiserate with all those family's just beginning their journey into camping. First of alli while there are challenges such as the screaming and tantrums that can be very stressful, there are also many rewards. So hang in there. We continue to enjoy camping as a family and the "incidents" are much less frequent and less traumatic; they're also resolve more quickly. The trick I have found is to keep them as busy as possible during the daytime, keep transition time or lulls to a minimum, and then at night they are more prepared to relax, eat and enjoy the fire. We don't smoke but started a tradition a few years ago on a mens only campout of enjoying a cigar together around the campfire. Don't know if its been mentioned but for those who have a "runner" at night, try using a surfers safety leash like they use on their surf boards. We just this month bought our first camper so that we can continue to enjoy the bonding and family time together.
 

Kimmygr

Active Member
Jun 20, 2013
546
Reading all these stories made my day! My DS who is 11 now is ADHD and High Functioning Autism (Asperger's). I love taking him camping because it gets his little behind out of the house and outside! He seems to really enjoy it now too. We tent camped with him a couple times prior to getting our popup last year. The pup has made it so much easier. He now has a comfortable place to escape to when things get a bit over whelming. Since getting the pup his meltdowns have been less often compared to when we tent camped.

It is always wonderful to see him exploring around the campground and campsite instead of playing video games on his DS. Since he is a bit older, we let him go off and ride his bike around the loop we are on. It gives him a little bit of freedom and helps with getting some of that energy out. I still try my best to watch him like a hawk, but he is also at an age where it is time to start letting out the leash a bit so to speak.
 




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