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Autism Camping: Who are these kids; and what did they do with mine?

We reached our first stop after 10pm so the campground was dark and quiet, which was our first concern because this family is anything but quiet. Hubby and I were concerned about this camping thing because there is usually so much prep needed in taking the kids out. He had been busy researching things like how to build camp fires on campingfunzone.com, and as useful as that is going to be, I would appreciate it if he also looked at some tips on how to control kids when camping! What would they do in open spaces? Without hotels to spread out in, and everyone sleeping within 30 ft of each other, and literally on top of each other?

First thing I read was that if you are new to RVing, do not get to your first campsite after dark!! So, what did we do? We got there after dark. Travelling in the dark is a lot riskier than in the day, but fortunately, we had been recommended good sam rv insurance by a friend, so we had some peace of mind. Luckily we were able to get all hooked-up with little madness and not (too much) noise–or at least no one complained and got us kicked out on our first night. So we were off to a good start I thought. It had already been a long day, and with everything being new the boys excited to convert everything to the beds.

Aspie teen claimed the loft cubbyhole-like over the cab, closed himself inside with his laptop and no complaining. Matt was happy watching TV, and Tommy was excited to go outside and sleep in the tent with Grandma. He actually was really looking forward to sleeping outside the RV. I was reassured that he and Grandma would have a good night’s sleep thanks to Survival Cooking‘s reviews on the best tents for a comfortable and spacious night. No problems, everyone was quiet, and even our littlest guy, who you guys don’t know too much about these days was in hog heaven because he got to sleep in bed with us, which he never does.

Tommy was up with the sun on the first morning and out on the playground which was conveniently located directly across from our campsite. The KOA had a jumping pillow that turned out to be a huge hit with Matt and Tom, who are usually fight constantly. The two of them played, bounced, ran around, played mini-golf and pretty much stuck together and played OUTSIDE all day long. No TV, video games, cellphones, or COMPLAINING.

After BBQ, camp fire, s’mores, and Tommy’s “creepy camp stories,” he put himself to bed at 8:30! Just said he was really tired and was going to his tent~! And he did!

Who are these kids?? We are going to check under the RV for pods because something is going on here….

Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.


  1. How is it going with the service dog now, is he with you on the camping trip?

  2. nature is a really good healer. its a shame that our lives today dont allow for more of it. but it really is. it regulates things. fresh air heals things. its sooo good.

    • Hi Ericka!

      It really really does. I am sitting here on our last morning of camping and grabbed my iPad and coffee to hop on for a while. We have had a great time and I dont even feel exhausted like I usually do by the time the last day of vacation rolls around. In fact, I am quite energized, but really don’t want to go home. Wish we could live outdoors more…I think there are some changes on the horizon for sure!

  3. Different situations may result in different behavior.

    • Very true. But through different situations somethings are constant, and even those…difficulty sleeping (especially for me), siblings fighting, and the incessant complaining is so much less. They are even EATING whatever we have at camp, or not, and not complaining. (Too much)

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