Camping with Autism

Discussion in 'Camping for the Medically/Physically Challenged' started by TheMillers, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. Ken1967

    Ken1967 Can't wait to Camp!

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    Apr 9, 2010
    I guess I never ever thought about not taking our son (with Aspergers Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, High Anxiety and one other thing I can't remember). When I first started dating his mother I told her that the summer before I had started buying camping gear with the intention of getting back into it. Darling son has always had issues... but I never worried about it. We tented for a couple of years and there were times where his issues rose to the surface. He really does not like going #2 in a strange bathroom... so sometimes he will hold it for a couple of days. But when we went on a trip 10 days long... day 4 he finally could hold it no more. But he figured out that very few people use the bathroom at 1 a.m. Nuff said.
    One thing that we did learn is that one must never go without his meds. We went to camp on a Thurs... a big storm brewed up on the lake... we quickly threw everything into my car and sat in my fiancee's car. Hoping it would pass we waited an hour... it did not look like it would so we decided to drive back to her place for the night and go back out in the morning. It was 25 miles. We did not realize his night time pills were in my car... 25 miles away, until it was late and we opted not to go back to camp and get them. He was up all night... the only plus was once we got him to camp and gave him his pills he konked out and slept until 7 that night... daughter was away at her dads.. so mom and I had quality time on the beach! He woke up that night and ate.. went back to bed. Saturday he was back on normal cycle.
    When he has a meltdown we try to encourage him to keep calm... as the loud wailing tends to attract attention. But he rarely has them as he loves campfires, swimming and has even taken to cycling last summer. And yes camp driveway helps alot! He and his buddies stay in the camper as soon as I get it up! [PU] [:D]
     
  2. Puppypaws

    Puppypaws Looking for an Aframe

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    May 4, 2014
    I realize this thread is several years old, but I stumbled across it and thought it held a wealth of information for families with special needs kids. Terrific.

    There is now a company called "Road I.D." that makes sporty identification bracelets. http://www.roadid.com/imagesV3/Features/blue_elite_ID.png

    I'm thinking they would be terrific for children who may wander and have difficulty communicating.
    They come in many colors and the child could pick out their favorite.
     
  3. klmmc13

    klmmc13 New Member

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    Jun 11, 2014
    I'm going to add my [2C] to this thread (hope it ALWAYS stays where other newbies can find it!)

    I have two boys, 16 and 12. Both are ADHD. The older, JL, is OCD and Bi-Polar as well; and the younger, Michael, also has Asperger's.

    Two years ago they joined the Boy Scouts and it was the best thing imaginable for both of them. I've always attended the meetings, to be able to rein in or otherwise assist with Michael, and JL has always helped as well. While on campouts with just the troop, JL has been able to watch over his brother, and with all the supervising adults being fully aware of Michael's situation, there have only been a few situations outside what would be considered "normal" for an 10-12 year old boy. Michael would leave an activity or area without his "buddy" or notifying any adult, but all ended with no harm done. (Frazzled nerves until he was found again, but no injuries or worse.)

    (Murphy must love our Scout Troop, as no less than half of the boys are ADHD and on medications for it. Thank GOD! that one of the assistant Scout Masters is a Nurse, and has this all down to a science at Med-time)

    However, if you put Michael into a district/regional campout situation, he needs much closer watching. Michael will wander off, or get distracted from the event at hand, especially if he's more interested in what's going on "over there" than what he's supposed to be doing. We've all experienced this with any kid.... Michael just acts on it quicker, and more often.

    As his brother is becoming active in his own Scouting activities, he isn't always as readily able to watch over Michael at these campouts.
    After discussing it with the Troop Masters, They, and I will discuss who, if anyone, will be watching over Michael, or if it would be better for him to skip that particular campout.

    Until now, Dad has been able to arrange his schedule to attend the campouts when necessary, but with a change in employers, that is no longer the case.

    To enable Michael to participate more fully in Scouts, Mama has bought a Pup (Mama has her own health issues, and can no longer tent-camp), and has a promise from the Scout Masters that enough boys will be allowed to come help set up my camp that I can now help Michael fulfill his Scouting requirements, and work toward eventually becoming an Eagle Scout.

    My advice is this - as long as they have routine: whether it be people they are familiar with, or items/things or time routines, understanding guidance from adults and siblings, and have somewhere to get away from things when they get overstimulated, MOST of these kids will do better in camping situations that they do at home.

    Score another one for the PUPs!!
    Kathy
     
  4. fallsrider

    fallsrider Active Member

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    Nov 16, 2006
    NC
    Thanks for the link! DW and I will have to look into that. Our DS is a "runner".

    Sent from my ADR6425LVW using Tapatalk
     
  5. Gregg

    Gregg New Member

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    Jul 13, 2014
    My now 8 year old autistic son goes camping with us. We were a little nervous the first time but he did great. He was 4 that first time. He probably loves camping more than his 9 year old brother and sister. Running was a concern. He is getting much better at this so we don't have to be right by his side all the time. I always have a meltdown plan, I think this helps keep me relaxed ;) I also put him in neon clothing.

    He is non verbal and the only thing we have to watch for is if a camping neighbor has one of his favorite foods, lol.

    And I give camping credit to finally getting him potty trained. We were at a site that only had an outhouse and he really tried to use it but couldn't do it. He was also not a fan of just peeing outside. We drove 15min to the nearest little town and he used a toilet. I couldn't understand a word of what he was saying but I think it was "I love toilets!" When we got home he didn't have any more accidents. I think he found out that toilets are awesome [:D]
     
  6. chiefsou

    chiefsou Member

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    May 23, 2013
    We have a 9yo DD with autism. Next week will be our 1st time out in the pup. First thing I bought was a porta potty. It's just easier that way. We also have an outdoor shower, which I'm so happy our pup came with one, in case she doesn't do well at the campground showers. Unfortunate for our maiden voyage we won't a system for capturing the shower runoff so we won't be using it this time. DH also put a lock on the inside of the door just in case she tries to elope. Not 100% secure but it will slow her down a bit and give us a chance to catch her. Lol Otherwise I'm just hoping and praying it all goes well and this is something she loves. :)


    ~the chief's wife
     
  7. bettypowell

    bettypowell New Member

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    Jun 21, 2014
    This weekend was our second time of bringing our daughter who has shaken baby syndrome, TBI, Autism, OCD, ADHD and more. She is physically normal but at age 13yrs she has a mentality of 3.5 yrs. Her OCD is worse most time. She did really great except we had to watch her to not throw important camping items away. She did "put away" my car keys which we finally located this morning. She did great as long as we let her stay in the popup with her kindle. she would come out on her own to visit but when she had enough outside time, she returned to the camper. It is finally something we can do together. Love camping

    [:D] [HY] [CP]
     
  8. kennykamper

    kennykamper Member

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    Jul 21, 2014
    We have a 4year old DD with Autism . We just took are new to us 86 jayco pop up and DD on the first camp out. Well kind of we camped out on my DW parents back lot (2 acres ) . We have not camped sense before she was born and just tent camped . She liked climbing onto the beds and slept ok on the fold up/table bed. She figured out fast how to open the door to get out . We put a plastic tote in front of the door/handle . When she got up she went over and started moving the tote to get to the handle .So we need to figure a way to put a lock out of reach to keep here from escaping . Once we got her to sleep it was nice just sitting out side under the stars and relaxing witch is hard to do these days .
     
  9. fallsrider

    fallsrider Active Member

    1,777
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    Nov 16, 2006
    NC
    Congrats on getting your DD out camping. It can be trying at times, but it is worth it. Our DS loves the outdoors and camping. We take him every chance we get.

    I'm sure you can find a way to secure the door. You definitely don't want her getting out. One of the challenges with camping with autistic kids is overcoming challenges like this. You'll find a way.

    And yes, you're right. The relaxation after your child goes to bed is exceptionally nice.
     
  10. kennykamper

    kennykamper Member

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    Jul 21, 2014
    Thanks its good to share and hear others experience's. Im going to have to look into one of those ID bracelets . Im not sure if she would keep it on though . There was an id tag i saw some ware that you could Velcro through shoe laces .
     
  11. phager76

    phager76 Member

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    Dec 1, 2013
    Monongahela, PA
    Our 2 year old DS is suspected autistic, currently he's seeing 4 different therapists ( speech, OT, PT, and another that I can't remember). We're still waiting on a full diagnosis, his MRI was normal, but we're still waiting to get his genetic testing done. His sister is also on the spectrum, although very high functioning.

    This thread has been very enlightening for me and has given me some great ideas to prepare Patrick Jr for this spring when he can go camping for the first time.
     
  12. cztardust

    cztardust Member

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    May 29, 2013
    I was reading this thread just to understand what challenges you all faced and really give you all kudos for having such strength to overcome it all. One thing that popped in to my head is the problem with their wandering away. I don't want this to sound tacky, but are you aware that they have radio proximity tags that will sound off it the tag gets too far away from home base? The tags are so small and unobtrusive we use one for our kitty when we camp. Not only does it sound off, but it will act as a compass to find them providing they haven't gotten too far away. It may give you peace of mind when your out at camp during the night knowing the alarm will sound if they wander more than 100 feet away. When I purchased my tags, I think I paid about 140 for two and a hand-held homing device.
     
  13. juhesihcaaa

    juhesihcaaa New Member

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    Feb 23, 2014
    Does anyone have any good suggestions for reusable bracelets or necklaces for kids with autism? I have 4 year old twins and one has ASD. The other is slightly behind in speech too. I'd love a reusable bracelet or necklace for both of them. I'd prefer something that doesn't have electronics so I don't have to worry about batteries. And something that I could change the site number on would be fantastic. Any ideas?
     
  14. chiefsou

    chiefsou Member

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    May 23, 2013
    My dd has autism as well. I came across these and may get one for her. They are called Alert Me Bands. You can find them at alertmebands.com. They are customizable. Not sure what you could do for the site # though. Good luck.


    ~the chief's wife
     
  15. kennykamper

    kennykamper Member

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    Jul 21, 2014
    We just recently got are daughter one of those bands from www.AlertMeBands.com . There are a couple of options on what you want them to say and we have my wife an i,s Cell phone numbers on them . We put i have autism and i,m unable to answer questions on it. That way if she gets lost poeple wont be scratching there heads wondering why she isn,t ansering or speaking to them .
     
  16. kojack

    kojack Member

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    Aug 2, 2016
    I am going to TTT this thread! We are finally in a position to connect our pop up and move with our 10 year old son who has autism. He loves the camper. We are getting it all gear up for a full camping season this year. Enough messing around ha ha! I had a travel blog for traveling with a family member with autism. I had to let it die because of time etc. But maybe this year while camping I will have time to fire it up good, and use photos and stories from camping!
     
  17. Arruba

    Arruba Member

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    Nov 28, 2014
    Central Oregon
    I don't know what "TTT" means, but I'm glad the info at the least is informative, and at the most inspirational to "try" with ones children. My own story is my youngest son has Aspergers Syndrome and a screaming dose of ADD. The trials of trying to connect, manage stimulus, teach social skills, work through the "triggers" and such can easily leave a person exhausted and feeling defeated. A lot of the discussion here concerns children and advice. Allow me to fast forward the film a bit.

    My son is newly grown up and trying College. I used to camp with him as a kid to various degrees of success, but success none the less. He still will sometimes camp with me, but there really needs to be something of personal interest to him in it for it to work. Some of the familiarity stuff still helps. A lot of what to expect front loaded helps. Sometimes my wife connects with his empathy and gets him to come because of a perceived need that someone needs to look out for dad, (me). On the subject of tagging your kids, my son still uses an ID bracelet because he can "lock up" in social interactions, like interactions with law enforcement and carries a declaration card in his wallet.

    Good luck and don't give in to frustration
     
  18. kojack

    kojack Member

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    Aug 2, 2016
    Arruba...TTT means To The Top....of the forum section.
     
  19. Arruba

    Arruba Member

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    Nov 28, 2014
    Central Oregon
    Thank you for informing me.
     
  20. Donny

    Donny New Member

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    Apr 4, 2017
    Northeast Indiana
    Vacation time, again! We are getting our FR pop-up ready for the longest trip we have ever taken with our 32 yo autistic son. first to see the girls in Lincoln, NE. Then to Colorado for daughter's wedding, and from there to Yellowstone. Camping with the bears in southern Montana, and after we've toured the park for a few days, home through the Dakota territories. We live in NE Indiana, so the total trip will involve more than 5k miles, and about 16 days on the road. Our son is very high functioning, and not given to tantrums or other negative expressions. We do, however, have to watch closely over him because he has no fear. Danger is not in his vocabulary. He also has no ability to "read" the emotion of anger in other people. To him, a frowny- face means playtime. "Let's push some more hot buttons." This doesn't usually create a problem for him, as he is really a people-person, but, we have on rare occasions had to rescue him from people who meant to do harm. We bought a new (for us) Town and Country to pull our camper with this year, and are looking forward to its' maiden voyage. We travel with a 2007 Forest River Flagstaff. Great camper!
    I didn't see any recent posts here, so if anyone is still reading--watch for the follow-up in a few weeks. I hope to have some good stories.
     
    cyndib likes this.

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