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Negative impact on us all of group camping trip

(14 Posts)
Stradbroke Mon 27-Jul-15 08:39:37

We went away as a family for a group camping trip with 7 other families. All lovely families and lovely friends. Me, D, DS (8) and DD (6, ADS).
It was ok, but so, so painful seeing all the other kids playing together and my DD trying to join in and not succeeding. Not being able to let her go off with the other kids (DH had to go with her rather ruining his holiday), having to keep an eye out for meltdowns, having to put her to bed before the others, seeing other peoples photos and realising that she isn't in them as she is essentially having a different trip to all the other kids. Her brother being embarrassed about her behaviour (which was pretty appalling by the end obviously). Having to get the iPad out at a group dinner as she is losing it. Having to leave whilst everyone else enjoys the kids disco until 11pm. Coming home and me and DH being flat because it is so HARD, DD now being so anxious and tense that we will all be suffering for another week.
Do we go on these trips because they are good for us and it is good to try and do 'normal' things and keep us within a community it do we stop and accept that it isn't for us and we just isolate ourselves further
Oh the heartache of seeing other peoples family lives and the fun their kids have and the friendships the kids form with each other. Sometimes I let myself imagine what life would be like if she didn't have ASD. Our whole life would be so different and unrecognisable and it would be so, so wonderful.

imip Mon 27-Jul-15 10:10:14


Watching with interest. We head off to the U.S. on Friday with 4dcs incl. dd7 who is currently awaiting assessment but I'd say has ASD/PDA.

My gut says keep going as your other dcs need to go on holiday, but our trips are massively affected by dd. in fact we booked this trip just before a cahms therapist confirmed she thought dd had ASD and referred her to the appropriate pathway. I've been pushing for this for over 2 years, and it was nearly 2years ago that I self-referred to the CDC and was fobbed off.

cansu Mon 27-Jul-15 13:23:23

Very much understand. We isolate ourselves tbh but I am not convinced this is the right thing to do. Maybe it would be better to only do shorter group things? I think another part of it is not minding that your dd doesnt or cant do the joining in. I find this v hatd but know I would be happier if I was able to let go of the if only mindset.

bjkmummy Mon 27-Jul-15 13:38:45

weve just come backing from camping - we went by ourselves and we have 3 children all with ASD. we saw lots of big groups who had all come together and camped together - watching the different lots of kids just being allowed to explore the site and just be kids whilst my 3 would just stay by the caravan by themselves - had no interest in interacting with any other children, going out and constantly firefighting meltdowns - it was draining but we will do it all again in a couple ofweeks as those moments of my son being happy to just stand by the riverside and feed the ducks make it worthwhile even thought the other 98% of the time its just so so so day we may just admit defeat but for now we continue to try and be a normal family which clearly we are not. we donow make the holidays shorter - 3 nights max

Stradbroke Mon 27-Jul-15 16:06:25

We did three nights which was probably too long tbh. If we had left after two then I think it would have been a success.
I have let go of the "if only" mindset to a large extent, but DD was trying to join in on the last morning whilst we were packing and it was heartbreaking to see. She really wants friends, but has speech disorder which makes it very difficult and of course just gets it slightly wrong.
I have tried to have a good day today but am clearly still wound up as we have just left the supermarket with no food as she refused to behave and I have had enough. So now I have no dinner, a son who is upset and trying to make amends and a DD who is causing the problems who couldn't give two hoots!

zzzzz Mon 27-Jul-15 16:20:25

It isn't her that is causing the problems though really. It is her disability in a non inclusive world that causes more work and distress.

I'm firmly in the keep going camp. I get better at differentiating and supporting and mine gets better at managing as time passes.

Different not less.

More work not impossible.

This is my life. I choose to live it as best we can.....and it gets bettergrin

Georgethesecond Mon 27-Jul-15 16:22:25

Poor you. Can you get fish and chips?

UnsolvedMystery Mon 27-Jul-15 16:39:55

Stress like that is not my idea of a holiday. We changed the way we holiday to ensure the kids were able to cope and access as much as was possible at the time. They have got better over the years so we can do so much more, but I wouldn't push them to the point of distress (for them or us) because that's just not good for anyone. There were times we had to leave places because interaction with other kids was just too difficult, but we managed little bits here and there and did lots of stuff as a family where we could manage the environment.
It does get easier but it's a real juggle trying to manage different needs.

Stradbroke Mon 27-Jul-15 16:58:28

It wasn't all bad. And it was good to be with friends. I really don't want to become more isolated from my friends so we will keep going but learn better when to pull the plug.
I know it is her disability but today it is defeating me and my ability to be flexible is on the wane.
I am not angry with her, but I am angry that this affects to much of our life (hers, her brothers and us as her parents) and that it is life defining for all of us.
I probably need a good cry and then I will feel a bit better.

zzzzz Mon 27-Jul-15 19:53:56

We all have days like that strad brew cake

mumsuz Mon 27-Jul-15 20:29:29

I know exactly how you feel. We too do camping trips with groups of friends. It is tough and hard breaking sometimes. My dd wants friends too but doesn't know how and the other children are old enough to see that she is different.

But as you say, it's not all bad. Our dd enjoys helping the adults out especially at cooking times! And at times she sometimes mixes with the others when they are colouring or all eating together.

All our friends are well aware of dd's diagnosis which also makes it a bit easier. It is so hard sometimes but I think it does dd and us good not to be isolated, especially with friends that don't judge.

Sorry you are finding it tough.

Bilberry Tue 28-Jul-15 10:38:42

Did it really matter giving her the iPad in the group meal? I know it can feel a failure when you have an idea of everyone chatting along together but really you just want everyone to be enjoying themselves in each other's company and if it takes your dd to have an iPad to do that then that is fine. (I can be a bit too relaxed about gadgets at times though). I hate the trying but not being able to join in bit...


Lindseyepps28 Tue 28-Jul-15 11:46:40

My ds2 has autism, and am a trained emotional support assistant. I would definitely not isolate your family as each time they will learn a new social skill it might take up to 20 times to learn a new skill. Also 7 families would be around 28 people that is a large group of people why don't you try only 2-3 family at a time as less people might make him feel relaxed. Also when I take my ds2 out I use positive tokens and time out. He earns a token every time he does or tries something new or repeats a newly leant skill. Then when we are home he exchanges them for special time doing something he enjoys. We also allow him to tell us when he needs a break. we use his tablet with headphone and allow him to zone out for a while then use the token when he puts it away and continue with the day. This seems to be working for my family.

zzzzz Tue 28-Jul-15 13:38:31

All children are different, as are all families. Do what makes you happy. Use whatever crutches you need,be they token systems or screens to get the best out of what's on offer.

Ultimately these are your children. They get one childhood, you get one "parenting them" experience. It might not be the wide and peaceful avenue you were expecting but off road has its own thrills.grin

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