OK, so you would like to come on a family weekend BUT.... those dreaded what ifs:
Now we could go on and on with the what ifs we have heard over the years of running retreats, but we won't... We will answer these few and try to give you a little reassurance.
At each and every retreat WE STILL have this worry!! So far it has been unproven for us, yet we still worry! We are parents - it is what we do.
Brace yourself - there is always a meltdown or two or three on weekends away, and it's not always from the kids! It is a new situation for everyone and there will be some anxiety. The bonus is we all get it and don't mind! This is the point of camp: To be with others who understand what you go through. And for some strange reason, everyone seems calmer at our retreats.
Again we have had a couple of families who have contemplated going home on the first night because their child wouldn't settle like 'normal'. So far no-one has left because of that reason. But if you do feel you need to go - that's ok! You tried!
We advise you to ready your family with social stories, pictures, and discussion leading up to the weekend. Show them on a calendar how long they will be away. Explain how they will be staying in their special bed. Bring along a favourite teddy or two or three. What ever makes it easier for all of you, do it. If you have any concerns, contact us!
Our worst nightmare - and I am sure yours - is having 'runners' at camp. We won't tell you that we haven't had any, because we have. They haven't ended in tears - they have ended in giggles and smiles. And with some of us quite out of breath!
As always you will need to be vigilant. But the bonus is that there are a whole heap of extra eyes watching all the kids. As soon as one starts to move a little too quickly, you will be sure to hear someone yelling out.
As a plus we are working on having at least one "safe and supported" retreat a year in a venue that is either fully or almost-fully fenced, to take some extra stress away in that instance.
We have had families that have come and they haven't been able to stray far from the cabin the first time at a retreat. But they have come again and their child has been more willing to come out and explore.
Your weekend away is not a failure just because you don't spend every second out and joining in.
It is still a great place to wave a flag at someone passing and drag them in for a coffee and a chat if your child won't go out. Or when your child goes to bed, sit out on your verandah and you will be sure to have a parent or two dropping in for a glass of wine and a chat.
If you don't want that - if you are loving your alone time - then you know what? That's all ok too!
Everyone has different experiences at our retreats.
WE love this one - NO ONE IS THE SAME! We have a brilliant opportunity to ask first hand about chelation, gluten free diets, dairy free diets, stem cell therapy, naturopathy, music therapy, ABA, OT, speech, deep pressure, biomedical, PECS, signing... are you getting the picture?
If you have thought about it - it's for sure someone has tried it and can tell you why it did/didn't work for them.
It is an amazing place to learn about ASD... and if just one of those tips works for your family- how great is that!
Come and SPEAK to children, teenagers and adults who are on the spectrum - we can learn so much by listening!
We promise you all families feel like you do now... it's running through your head, maybe you can do it, but those what if's keep surfacing.
So we will throw a new what if up for you. What if you go and it is ASPERLUTELY AUTSOME?