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ASD 5 year old - any ideas on how to keep amused on long car journey?

(29 Posts)
Frostyfoxy Tue 12-Jul-11 22:05:24

Hello! Not sure if this is the right place to post this but thought I'd ask anyway!

My DP, DS (5 almost 6) and I are travelling by car from Wales to mid France by car. We are crossing by eurotunnel.

We have done this journey in previous years but most of it has been done at night and so DS was asleep. This time it will be during the day and DS will undoubtedly be awake all the way!

DS is midly ASD in most aspects. He can't read much though and his obsession enthusiasm is cars/trains/lorries - anything with wheels basically. He does have an ipod which we can download some of his favourite programmes on to which will help for a while. I have bought him a summer pack of cbeebies magazine and a magnetic snakes and ladders (not that he knows how to play it properly but he likes moving the peices around and throwing the dice - although I can see that will cause problems in the back of a car!!!)

Anyone have any other ideas of what could possibly pass the time?


Al1son Tue 12-Jul-11 22:12:13

Audiobooks on the iPod have always worked well for us.

An A4 sized white-board and pens for drawing (unless you have cream leather seats).

A list of things to spot on the journey like a pub called the King's Head, a brown cow, a chimney pot, a freight train, an Eddie Stobart truck,..... with a prize for when he's completed it.

Frostyfoxy Tue 12-Jul-11 22:23:11

Fab idea Al1son about the white board - I didn't know you could get them A4 size! No leather seats thankfully!

He does like to guess what colour the next lorry he see's is going to be, so expanding that to looking for other things could be an idea.


Frostyfoxy Tue 12-Jul-11 22:24:36

Do audiobooks have pictures too? Sorry to be a bit thick! He is more visual than auditory.

utah Tue 12-Jul-11 22:24:41

this may sound strange but when my eldest son was about 7 we gave him the spare sat nav and a printed copy of the map and a highlighter pen and it kept him engrossed the who journey even the miles and miles on the motorway. It just made him feel involved plus he even stopped us getting lost more than once and used his amazing maths ability.

utah Tue 12-Jul-11 22:26:05

who should say whole, I wish there was an edit button

starlingsintheslipstream Tue 12-Jul-11 22:29:53

Along the same lines as Al1son's idea, how about I Spy Books.

Frostyfoxy Tue 12-Jul-11 22:34:40

Don't worry Utah I read whole instead of who the first time and had to reread it when I saw your second post!! I like the idea of a map and a pen.

Off now to check out I Spy Books and try to find A4 white boards!!

Thanks everyone!! I am now almost looking forward to the journey instead of dreading it as I was about an hour ago!!

EllenJaneisnotmyname Tue 12-Jul-11 23:04:26

Also, get an in car charger for the iPod. Has saved us much misery!

coff33pot Tue 12-Jul-11 23:06:59

do columns in a book and put white car/blue car/lorry/coach/red car etc then give him the pen and help him do a 5 bar gate count. I did this with my DS and at the bottom of each column I put a favourite treat of his. We count them up at the end of the journey and the highest total of whatever column means that is the treat he gets at the end grin

amistillsexy Tue 12-Jul-11 23:10:51

blush we caved when we took our 3 to France (DS1 has ASD, although we didn't realised it back then-he was 4 at the time). We bought an in-car DVD player and played films all the way.
It worked for (almost) the entire journey! grin

pigletmania Tue 12-Jul-11 23:56:30

What about a portable Dvd player to play his fav dvds after all else have failed.

someoneoutthere Wed 13-Jul-11 04:50:28

We also have the in-car dvd player which kept DS busy on long journeys (longest being 8 hours). We now have an ipad to keep him busy as we can't play the DVDs anymore because of DD who has travel sickness and it is worse if she is watching or playing on something..

ErnesttheBavarian Wed 13-Jul-11 05:06:58

my ds get bored of dvd. We do long drives, from South Germany to SE England. Nintendo DS or iPhone/iPod touch is the way to go. Don't have a peep out of them for 14 hours, and on arrival you still have to tell them to turn it off. They are in heaven to be allowed so much screen time. ds1 has an ipod touch, so he can sometimes play games, sometimes listen to music. Ds3 usually borrows my iphone.

My one piece of advice, don't get something new for the journey. We made the mistake of getting ds3 a game boy and he spent the entire journey asking how to play this game, or asking his brother to help him. Amazing he survived really.

outthere Wed 13-Jul-11 06:55:38

Oooh, I like the spare SatNav idea - might have to pinch that one!

We used an ipod touch and DVDs...

We also bought little "presents" from the local newsagent (the little toys/cars/balls etc that cost about a pound each). I bought one item for every hour of the journey and wrapped them up so they were little presents that were dished out every hour or every time they were bored.

Some of the toys provided a few minutes entertainment, others provided hours of fun!

The only potentially tricky bit is getting them to realise it's a one off for this special journey and I won't be handing out gifts every time we go in the car! grin

Frostyfoxy Wed 13-Jul-11 08:58:16

Thanks for your replies!

We have an incar charger for the ipod already and yes it has saved many a meltdown!

We did have a portable dvd player too last year (I heard the Cars movie soooooo many times on the drive down that I know it word for word now!!) but I think my ds wore it out as it stopped working!!

Outhere - you made me smile thinking of your dc's thinking they will get presents on every car journey!! There are some traits that ALL AS children have!! grin

I think now I have some great tips and ideas to work on for the journey. Now all I have to do is sort out the packing without needing a trailer for it all!!

magso Wed 13-Jul-11 09:14:42

The french motorway services often have extra play opportunities for children during the french school holidays, such as bouncy castles, if a bit of wearing out is needed to help the travelling. Many of the basic l'airs have grass and trees -ds likes to collect leaves/nuts/seeds.

Ben10isthespawnofthedevil Wed 13-Jul-11 09:30:41

I love the I Spy books - thanks for the recommendation

jjgirl Wed 13-Jul-11 13:39:14

i found packing stuff in front of his seat and then putting something flat on it saved me stopping all the time to pick up things he had dropped as he could reach out and get them himself.

i also put soe of his toys in little bags and then put it all in a box next to him with books etc. so he had to reach in and open things one at a time. this kept him amused for quite a bit.

pramsgalore4 Wed 13-Jul-11 14:14:49

i have just bought my 3 youngest dc [ds has asd] one of these
i am planning to put paper A5 size, some twistables crayons and pencils [then no need to sharpen] a small colouring book and other bits and pieces that i come acrross. then i will hand them to them when we go to visit family and go on holiday both really long car journeys. they can slot in their master pieces in the front of the back pack as well, my ds also has an ipod, he does not have great pencil skills so will also help with that grin.
and i also thought that when we go out for the day they can all have their own backpacks on with their bits init, they are so nice and not too big. my 12 year old is gutted because i refuse to get her one, but she is far too old so will have to think of someting else for her. my dcs are 2, 5 and 6

pramsgalore4 Wed 13-Jul-11 14:17:08

the pic on argos that shows the inside is wrong they only have one internel mess pocket, but still great

Al1son Wed 13-Jul-11 14:20:42

OP audiobooks are just sound so perhaps not the best. You can download loads of free Sesame Street podcasts which are audio and visual and keep DD2 (8) who has AS entertained for hours. There are also Cbeebies best bits but I think they are all audio.

DS has been a bit of a life-saver for us too.

Al1son Wed 13-Jul-11 14:21:08

Nintendo DS that is - not a random son I brought with us!

blueShark Wed 13-Jul-11 14:23:09

last summer we went to Austria by car and DS seemed satisfied by my constant talking about the trucks, cars, trains (same interest as your DS), talked about the colours, practicing asking questions etc....then became interested in tunnels on the way. I had books and DVD player as an emergency but didnt need it at all. I drunk lots of water on the way as my mouth was getting dry from too much talking smile And we drove through Germany through the night when he was asleep. DS found the whole trip an amazing experience whereas I didnt and is the first and last!

Frostyfoxy Wed 13-Jul-11 18:00:45

Al1son - you made me laugh out loud with the thought of you picking up some random son to keep your ds amused!! grin

I will get my dp on to downloading stuff on to ds's ipod - thats much more up his street than my capability (dp has as many autistic traits as our ds and computers are his thing!)

Poor Blueshark! I feel for you as I've been there too!! Hence the request for ideas so that it doesn't happen again!!

BTW I am now the proud possesor of 2 I Spy books! I think ds will love them, if only to look through let alone try to spot the actual items - Thank you!

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