Class Overnight with an Autistic Child

Class Overnight with an Autistic Child

Does your child with autism ever have sleepovers?

What does an overnight mean?

It means that they sleep somewhere that’s NOT their home and without their parents.

My child has only done this one time, with an uncle.

Of course, my child has gone on numerous vacations. But, those were always with his parents or a relative.

My child sleeps well in a hotel room. He has also done well at a relativeʼs house.

Traveling with a child with autism

I believe most families are able to travel with their autistic child. There are some exceptions, of course, but most figure out some way to travel.

What is different between a sleepover verses staying in a hotel with your family?

Sleepovers are traditionally without your parents around—except for the host parents. Which means the host parents need to know about your child’s issues.

Hopefully, the host parents know about autism or even have an autistic child.

The main thing is your child with be without you while staying at another location.

The environment is different. 

Many of our kids have sensory needs and, for the most part, they prefer whatʼs familiar. Theyʼre calmer around things that are familiar.

Is your child ready for a sleepover?

My child, as a sixth grader, will go on a class trip to the mountains for a four-day sleepover.

Is your child ready for a class overnight?

My son is excited about the trip, mainly because he loves the mountains.

Am I ready for his first extended overnight with no family?

Not really.

At my sonʼs IEP, I asked the question, “Can they accommodate my son on this trip? Can the district send an aide with him?”

My fear is my son will wander off. The woods is no place to wander. 

In reality, the chances of him wandering off are low. But, it’s hard to stop a mother from her worries.

To make it official, I brought it up at the IEP. The district will look into it, and I will follow through with this request.

The details of this overnight trip.

My son has always had a female aide. On this camping overnight, heʼll need a male aide since the boys cabin and the girls cabin will be separated.

A cabin in the mountains is a great idea, the thought excites my son. 

He really loves the mountains.

However, even a cabin in the mountains, for him, is an unfamiliar environment.

In addition, heʼll be required to sleep with three other peers.

The goal

My goal is for my son to be safe. No doubt about that.

I also want my son to have a good time.

In conclusion, I need to keep on top of school in their search for a male aide, because the pool of male aides is relatively small.

They have sent males aide to camp before, so I feel confident it will happen.

It’s still a year out, but that’s why I put the district/school on notice. Better to be early than late. 

We will continue to talk to him about the upcoming trip. We’re confident it’ll all work out.

If you’re interesting in summer camps, check out these:

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