What to do....first school camp!

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by lovelyboy, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    My son has never been away from us during the night!!!!!!Not even at his grandparents!
    So they are going on a schoolcamp in October for 3 days! And it will be all the grade 3 kids with only the 4-5 teachers! Almost 100 kids! They will be going to a game lodge kind of place, with rivers, absailing, building wooden stuff to go down the river, tree house klimbing...get the picture!?
    Me and hubby thought we might also go and stay seperate...His teacher said yesterday the principle won't allow this at all!!!
    So what worries me is that from the outside my son can look fine as if he is having a great time...but on the inside he could be very close to a panic attack...or feeling sensory very overwhelmed or frightend and alone....He easily falls victom to bullying and there has been problems with some of the boys in gr 3 that thinks its cool to play rough house!
    I am worried about his medications? I am worried about his possible migrains and vomiting.....and of coarse the food! My son only eats sertain food...he will just not eat something else.....even under pressure?
    He really wants to go and is looking forward to this!
    We thought ok, maybe we must then just go and stay somewhere closer by, its almost 200 km from home, so he knows we can come and fetch him if needed?
    Their principle is very horrible when it comes to making adjustments...She has this irritating attitude that says mommy you are being overprotective just leave him! And she doesnt have any insight in mental disabbilities....She has this attitude that in their perfect private school, kids must either fit in or leave!!!!
    Any suggestions?
  2. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member


    I can only see two options off the top of my head...

    1) Find a way for him to not go.
    Unfortunately, he wants to go... otherwise, you could conveniently have hi come down "sick" with something and "have to miss"... (we've used that one).
    Book a critical medical appointment for one of those three days (used that one too)
    Arrange for a grandparent to come down "seriously sick" and have to retrieve your son before the first night

    In any case, this is the first trip. What about next time?

    2) start up your own private school and out-do them.

    Seriously... without the law on your side? and without a culture that supports/forces some degree of accommodation? I'm not sure what else you CAN do.

    If it was only a single overnight, you might be able to build him up to it by staying with grandparents etc.
    But... THREE?

    And only 4-5 teachers for 100 kids? Here, they "can't" use those kinds of ratios (either ministry guidelines, or because if something goes wrong, it's a LOT more than a hand-slap). Camping trips here for 60 kids in grade 6 or 7... takes 4 teachers and at least 6 parents.

    And yes - it's a problem for my HS difficult child too. (here, they have some idea when it comes to medications, sensory, all sorts of things... but NOT when it comes to fatigue)
  3. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Unbelievable. That sounds like a huge liability risk even with non-difficult child kids. Here the accommodation would have to be made and of course for mine they'd be begging me to come LOL.

    Sounds like your mommy gut says this is not a good plan. I'd go on a family camping trip instead.

    Do doctor notes work? He does need somone who is medication trained. Maybe the doctor can say you are medically necessary? ??? Probably dumb, just brainstorming.
  4. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Agh buddy.....You know how unuser friendly our systems are!
    I also thought of a nice family trip instead! But I do think the kids will be doing nice stuff....But its all about the pros vs the cons.....isnt it!. The other plan I had was to maybe let him go with the bus on the Wednesday.....sleep that evening with them....50 other kids sharing the same room!!!!!
    Then let him partake on Thursday and maybe fetch him on Thursday evening....They will be leaving Friday morning anyway......But to convince the principal! I do understand that she cant let every childs parents make their own arrangement, but then, not every child has special needs, do they.....I am just worried that I wont be able to keep my cool with her!
  5. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hi. Another dilemma for you... A tough one to decide. One thing that occurs is that we can never know exactly how our children are going to respond... it could be that, despite your understandable fears, your son will actually enjoy himself and cope. Obviously you would need to sort out arrangements for his medications. I would say... follow your gut instinct with this, whatever it is.
  6. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I see the issue from the schools side too. They cannot just have a group of kids on an outing and suddenly random parents or caretakers start coming up to pick the kids up and take them away! Its a logistical nightmare for them. How would they keep track of who went with who? They certainly dont have access to files and folders from back at the school to make sure that the Daddy or Mommy who is coming to pick up the child is really allowed to do so.

    You are just thinking about thinks from one side and I get that. I think your son will go and have a blast without you. He just has to practice. My youngest started going to sleepaway camps at 5. He stayed for 3 nights. He did wonderfully...I dont know how the camp survived but he did...lol. They even managed give him his medications.

    Why dont you start practicing this stuff with him. He is old enough. Let him spend the night with someone or sleep in the yard. Maybe he and his brother could play at going camping. Is it safe to camp out in the backyard?
  7. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Janet... That attitude - but coming from the school - is exactly what almost put my difficult child six feet under. All it takes is one or two critical missing accommodations/interventions and the result is disaster. Put a few of those together and... recovery takes a very long time.

    There are no easy answers, unfortunately.
  8. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Janet....I get your positivity! I see you mention your youngest on camping.....but he doesnt have Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)?
    How did your Aspie lite do on camps?
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He did fine too. We just didnt know about the camp at the early age for him. I found the camp the same year and the boys all went the same summer but different weeks. Ours was run through 4H here and we only had access when we moved to the county we now live in so we did it the summer Cory was 5, Jamie was 7, and Billy was 10. But Billy had gone to an overnight camp for one night when he was six when we lived in Greensboro that was arranged for us by a very lovely group. He went for a day camp for a week then they stayed overnight the last night. Very nice.
  10. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Ok....this is where we stand!!!!! My sons nephew slept over during Sarurday night......Then his other nephew and grandma came to visit yesterday....And they played alot of rough housing....that my son says he enjoyed! BUT all this made my son so anxious that he sucked and chewed his new shirt so badly that he bit of one of the buttons and tear the other part of the neck.....After they left his eyes were watery and he got that spaced out staring kind of look.....This just made me realize maybe he isnt ready for the whole camping thing yet.....Last night he told me he really doesnt want to go on this camp, he is afraid of all the other kids being around him. So we decided ok, then we will have a great outing as a family to his faviourite waterworld, warmbaths exct......NOW I feel guilty, because I questioned his abbility to cope with the situation! I hope I am not making a huge mistake by maybe letting my son be the only one not going!!!! Hope this willnot exclude him from others even more! He says its fine....it doesnt bother him.....its his life and has nothing to do with other people! Wow! Maybe deep down he feels relief? Maybe this whole thing was stressing him out even if he were looking forward to it....because since they were starting to prepair the kids for this camp in school....he started chewing his hands and shirts again and dissosiating at school again! Agh its so difficult to try and do the right thing.....he wants to socialize, but the stress of it causes so much anxiety!!!! :(
  11. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    I think you're on the right track. We went against "school policy" and "popular opinoin" on this stuff... for 10 years straight and still counting now, and... it is absolutely amazing how tuned-in the kids really are, if we can reach them at their level.

    The damage done by going when you can't handle it, is greater than the damage of not going.
  12. SomewhereOutThere

    SomewhereOutThere Well-Known Member

    I completely...and totally...and 100% agree with Insane C. Even if certain countries do not acknowledge that some kids have disorders that make it difficult for certain special children to cope, WE KNOW THERE ARE! in my opinion, you are doing the right thing for your child. My son was not ready to go away to camp at that young age either, although most other kids that age would have handled it just fine. There is nothing for you to feel guilty about. You know your son better than the educators do. I'm really sorry that they seem to have such a rigid, they-all-better-respond-the-same-way attitude about how children in S. Africa. Children are all very different! Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) children, or a child with any disorder, usually needs certain accommodations to do well. There is nothing wrong with it. It's worse for him to have a traumatic experience and never want to leave Mom again.
  13. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    So I bumped into difficult child grade1 teacher today and we started talking about the camp....So she motivated me to call the principal and discuss the situation with her. I phoned, she said she would like to see me tomorrow for an appointment.....was very surprised to hear we cancelled the trip! Anyway....my son seems so happy and free as a bird since we decided he is not going on the camp! He had the same happy thankfull look when I rescued him from a sleepover with 2 friends some months ago...that was going downhill VERY fast! Thank goodness, something told me to go and fetch my son!!!! He was being bullied by his so called friends....who teamed up against him....When he got in the car he was crying from greatfullness! Suddenly since we cancelled the trip my son stopped chewing his shirt! He is making jokes....seems as if a burden has been lifted of his shoulders!!!!! Seems my mommy gut were right! He says he didnt realize it was this camp that was stressing him out so much!:( I feel so much better now!
    He definitly dont want to go anymore.....so I am not sure if I must cancel the appointment with the Principal tomorrow, because I know she is going to upset me with her " mommy its time to cut your son loose from you, stop being overprotective.....he will be fine without you attitude"! If I do attend the meeting, I dont really know what to discuss with her.....Maybe to find out what type of accomodations the school is willing to take in the future? But he is getting a new principal next year anyway for grade 4-7!?
    Thanx for all your support and helping me to believe in my gut feeling! :)
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    It takes a long time, but... one of the most important lessons we have to teach our difficult children is that they have limits, and need to listen to their own body and their own gut, and learn how to speak up, when to speak up, and who to take it to. It is a GOOD sign that difficult child has connected the dots... cancel camp + change in anxiety = camp was causing anxiety.
  15. Ktllc

    Ktllc New Member

    Definetly talk to difficult child about his positive mood change. Make him part of the process "see how much better you feel now that we know the cause of your stress. Would it be ok to talk about it next time you are stressed? Both you and I, working together like detectives, we can find the problem and a solution to the problem" or whatever wording he will understand.
    As far as the principal, go to the meeting but stand your ground. If she gives you a line of sh*t, just state that you know your son better than anyone else and you did not come to be patronized. Obviously, this lady does not get it and being nice does not work.
  16. lovelyboy

    lovelyboy Member

    Just wanted to let you know, I spoke to principal.....She was very supportive and said she thinks we are making the right desicion! He doesnt sound ready yet! I didnt bother to go into details about what their willingness for adjustments were....Its almost the end of this school year and next year he will be with a new principal!
    She even said I am a good mommy!
    Well at least I survived! Thanx for all your support!
  17. Malika

    Malika Well-Known Member

    Hey, that's great, lovelyboy. Sounds like you reached the right decision :)