I want to take my Nuerotypical DS to DC, but my ASD DS will not handle it well.

Discussion in 'disABILITIES Community Board' started by mrzrich, Nov 13, 2013.

  1. mrzrich

    mrzrich DIS Veteran

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    My 10 yo NT DS is all about history. We have gone to St augustine for a week and he loved the old jail, the old fort, the old general store, the fountain of youth,etc.

    My ASD 13 yo DS not so much. While in the old jail he was jumping and flapping, I had to take him outside while DH and other DS continued the guided tour. In the old general store ASD DS was trying to touch everything. DH had to take him outside while I continued the tour with my other DS.

    It was pretty much a flop vacation for me and DH, but my 10 yo old loved it.

    We really want to take him to Washington, but I just don't see ASD son getting any enjoyment from walking around looking at monuments and museums. If we take DS 10 to Washington, its something that both DH and I want to experience with him, but I just don't see how we can.

    Last year we went to the Naval Aviation museum in Pensacola, similar to the Air and Space museum in DC. It held ASD sons interest for 5 minutes, so I got stuck holding his hand and trying to keep him calm while DH and other DS looked at the exhibits, we wound up sitting on a bench watching G-Force on his Ipad for the 13 millionth time. I didn't enjoy myself, DH felt like he had to rush an all day museum into an hour. Another flop. But again DS 10 loved it.

    Any advice?
     
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  3. mchllevns

    mchllevns Mouseketeer

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    Let me start by saying I do not have a child with ASD, but I did work with individuals with Autism for about 18 years....and this is clearly a personal decision for each and every family. However, there were instances where families decided to utilize respite services, allowing their child or adult family member with autism to opt out of the special event and remain in at home or at a respite location while the family was able to take the other children on a special outing or vacation.

    Perhaps there is this option in your area? Just a thought.
     
  4. mrzrich

    mrzrich DIS Veteran

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    Not sure I'd be comfortable leaving the state and having my child who has limited communication skills with a total stranger.
     
  5. dawnhaze

    dawnhaze DIS Veteran

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    Is there another family member, maybe a grandparent or aunt/uncle, who could come on the trip and do fun things with the older child while the rest of you do museums and historical sites?
     
  6. mrzrich

    mrzrich DIS Veteran

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    Do you have an reccomendations in regards to "fun things"? We will likely visit the national zoo as a whole family.

    As for the family member...all I can say is I wish! DH and I have no one who will watch our DS so we can go to a movie, let alone vacation.
     
  7. bookwormde

    bookwormde <font color=darkorchid>Heading out now, another ad

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    I sort of come from the side that our kids need to be exposed to as much as possible (often in very small chunks)

    I have found it is all about managing expectations. Of course only you know what is best for your child and situation

    good luck
     
  8. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    What does your 13yo enjoy doing? What are his interests? I'm just wondering if there are ways to incorporate some of his areas of interest into the touring. My 15yo really doesn't enjoy animals but she LOVED going to a zoo because she brought her sketch book and drawing pencils and sketched animals the whole time we were there. She could spend every waking moment sketching if we allowed her to. When we went to the beach I let her use my camera to take pictures of all sorts of scenery which she wanted to use as backgrounds for some personal art projects she was working on (she loves manipulating things in Photoshop). This summer we spent a week in LA before going to DL and at each place we went to she studied the various things to see through her artist's eye to determine how to incorporate the stuff into her art. At museums she wasn't necessarily looking at the info of the displays (sometimes she was) but rather she was looking at placement, structure, style, etc because that's what interests her. Basically, we go places as a family and she experiences the different activities through her interests.
     
  9. mrzrich

    mrzrich DIS Veteran

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    My son likes to watch TV, play on the computer, and eat. That's about it. He talks very loudly in a monotone, and repeats certain catch phrases frequently. He makes up songs in his head, and sings them loudly, frequently when inappropriate. He can not write, does not have the fine motor skills to hold a pencil. Pretty much our only successful vacations have been Disney and the Fl Panhnadle ( well the beaches, not the Naval Aviation Museum) But I feel this is so unfair for my other son who is missing out on experiences that truly interest him.
     
  10. clanmcculloch

    clanmcculloch DIS Veteran

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    This may sound a bit strange, but how would he feel about a wheelchair and how would you feel about pushing him? If he's sitting then he can use a smartphone or tablet to watch TV and play games but he'll still be with you and you can likely even get him participating with the family for brief times through the day. I don't know DC; do any of the many tourist places have short videos or interactive electronic games mixed in through the attractions? Stopping at these if they do in fact exist would also help.

    One thing I will note about our LA trip is that we did have to take a lot of time off at the hotel and days away from the hotel were much shorter days than they would be for most people. We enjoyed our family time at the hotel too and DD15 was able to cope with the stuff away from the hotel much better because of it.

    One other thing to consider is that maybe a few times you or DH could take DS10 out alone while the other stays at the hotel with DS13. I'm not saying do this often but occasional alone time with 1 parent and 1 child can be a really wonderful things for everybody. Choose the attraction(s) that would be the absolute most difficult for DS13 for this. The majority of the time can be spent together but that 1 on 1 time mixed in can make for some really special memories.
     
  11. kuhltiffany

    kuhltiffany DIS Veteran

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    I have 2 kids, a NT 9 year old daughter and an ASD 8 year old son. I've learned to have different expectations for him on vacations, it's not worth fighting to try and force him to experience things the same way the rest of us do. So it means he is "with" us physically, he may have his headphones on and be on his iPad/Ipod/DS, while the others take in wherever we are. I do make him move from place to place with us, sometimes he surprises me by what he stops and takes an interest in. While my 9 year old can move through the whole of something, my ASD son may get stuck on one area and stay there for hours!

    We have found that many museums and attractions now have a hands-on component (most often meant for younger kids), but that my DS really gets into. A lot of them can be sensory (water play in the last one we went to) so he can get some enjoyment out of wherever we are too.

    DH and I take turns splitting up with each child as well, so we each get a turn to see things and have fun with the other child. Sometimes one of us will go back to the hotel early and hang out with DS so the other 2 can finish the attraction. It's a different vacation than most people would take, but then we all get to experience new places...
     
  12. gigicnm

    gigicnm Mouseketeer

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    We took our two boys to DC for Aprill vacation last year. The aviation museum is the only one that I remember having a significant amount of hands-on/interactive exibits and was one of my boys top picks. The zoo- we are all animal lovers and couldn't wait to get out of there. It was dirty, half the exhibits had few or no animals, and it was in general disrepair. Our absolute favorite was the Udvar-Hazey museum which is a little out of the way but totally worth it. It had the most amazing display of airplanes, there was even a space shuttle.

    Good luck with whatever you choose.
     
  13. Mickey'snewestfan

    Mickey'snewestfan DIS Veteran

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    Could you come Monday through Friday and find a day camp for your 13 year old, something, perhaps, that is tailored for special needs? You would have evenings to do things he might like, and be together as a family, and the middle of the day to do things that are appropriate for your younger child?

    I'm a special educator in DC. I might be able to give you suggestions on places to look for camps, although it is late in the season to find something. You might have better luck investigating things now and looking for a camp spot in 2015.
     
  14. mikaza

    mikaza Earning My Ears

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    Is there a 3rd person you could bring along with you to perhaps wait outside with him for a half hour or so here and there so that you and your husband can also give undivided attention to your other son?
     
  15. Mrsjvb

    Mrsjvb DIS Veteran

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    as the kid with the special needs growing up, I watched as my younger siblings miss out on a LOT as the 'rents were focused on me and my needs.. to the point that for the better part of a decade my brother resented and hated me.

    as the aunt of a Non verbal severely autistic almost 18 year old with an older brother and 2 younger sisters who have NEVER been on so much as an overnight camping trip in their hometown;

    if there was ANY way in hell you could swing leaving the older one behind so that you could take a vacation with the other and have it ALL about him, do it. even if that means only one parent going.
     
  16. DLgal

    DLgal DIS Veteran

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    It's not ideal, but the best solution is for one of you to take 10 y/o to DC and the other stays behind at home with 13 y/o. Next trip, switch up who gets to go. There is no rule that families need to always travel together. In fact, there will be a huge benefit to going without the added stress of your special needs child.

    Both our kids are ASD kids. DH and I often take solo vacations or travel with friends just to get to do things we can't do easily with our kids. It works for us. If we had a typical child, we would definitely take him/her on trips alone.

    Even as it stands, our kids have different interests and we often split up and take the kids to do something that the other child will not like. DH is taking DS to a baseball game next week. I am taking our other son out to a special lunch at a restaurant that doesn't have food the other kid will eat.
     
  17. Janet Hill

    Janet Hill DIS Veteran

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    There is a respite care place in the DC area .Jill's House. Maybe just an overnight there for him, while the rest of the family focuses on the activities your spectrum child cannot handle. He will be close by and you all can get a bit of a break.
     
  18. mom2AidanAndEli

    mom2AidanAndEli DIS Veteran

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    I grew up with a brother who sounds very much like your son. My family never went on a single vacation--anywhere. I hadn't flown until I was an adult. Had stayed in a couple motels when I was very young--before he was born--that I don't remember. Otherwise, never went anywhere overnight. I was born and raised in New England and the furthest I ever got to see was another New England state that we could do in a day. Each summer my parents gave my other brother and I one day where we could pick an outing just for us. My grandparents handled my ASD brother for the day and we got to go with our parents to do something fun on our own for one day. That was a BIG deal! I know it wasn't my brother's fault, but boy did I resent him for a long, long time.

    I know it's not perfect, but please don't allow your NT son to miss out! Without family support (and I understand that, too--DH and I never have any help at all), it sounds like your best bet will be for one of you to take your younger son alone. It just seems that any way you try to include your other son is only going to be stressful for everyone and no one's going to be truly happy.

    If you take your son to DC and your husband stays home, bring a laptop. Skype each night. Or use Facetime. Take tons of pictures. Call from your cell phone while you're actually at the exhibits. Try to stay as connected as you possibly can.

    But make sure your DS gets to go and have the trip he really wants.
     

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