Q&A with Annette White of Camp Autism
“…Part of our planning for this coming vacation involves Bailey. Being so technically- minded he loves to look on Google maps and print off his list of directions which has saved us more than once from getting lost…”
My name is Annette and I have two kids – Bailey( 11) with high functioning autism and Holly (6) in Prep school. We are about to head off for a four weeks vacation from Victoria to Queensland and then back down to Tasmania! Four weeks is a long time to be away from school but we have spoken to both our kids’ teachers and asked what themes they are studying this term so the kids will be able to keep up and not miss anything. Also, we will adapt our day trips and help them learn – in a different way about the same things. My husband , a teacher and I always encourage them to learn about things around them. Bailey is currently learning about the damaging factors that impact the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, so we have suggested that he interview different people who work in the area about this issue. Bailey has also started his own blog and we have suggested that each day he write a bit about his day ( we are taking his netbook with us!) and send the link to the teacher. He plans to make videos and take lots of photos so he can prepare a slide show when he returns home. Holly is still young but we encourage her to draw what she sees.Her teacher has also made some maths sheets that we can work on a regular day.
Part of our planning for this coming vacation involves Bailey. Being so technically minded, he loves to look on Google maps and print off his list of directions which has saved us more than once from getting lost!
We pack the usual things including the DVD player or the DS, which are a good distraction on long driving trips.We try to pack either a plug-in night light and a small clock that glows in the dark – because he hates the dark and likes to know what time to get up. Turns out it is much easier than leaving the bathroom lights on.
As far as trip planning is concerned;we have never had to change any of our plans because of meltdowns or other challenges. We are mindful that if the kids are tired, their behaviour is likely to plummet quickly so ensure we don’t get “overtired” to avoid meltdowns.
Both our kids love eating out, and Bailey particularly likes ordering and asking lots of questions about the food. We always get comments on how polite he is and of course, he can add up the bill!!! Our biggest hassle is trying to find disabled toilets because of the electric hand dryers that Bailey hates (the noise is excruciating for him.)
For lodging, we always opt to book a cabin (in a park) near a playground so the kids can wander off, have a little bit of freedom, and we can still keep an eye on them.
We especially look forward to our Camp Autism weekends where we get to relax and network with other parents with kids on the spectrum. We feel truly blessed to have met so many friends, both children and parents,that all have something in common we create fond memories with!