Field trips when homeschooling your autistic child
Home school, public school, autistic, or neurotypical... field trips are great ways to learn and experience the world. I think traveling and vacations are really just adult field trips, lol.
For a homeschooled autistic child, there are some considerations to keep in mind when planning a field trip. I'm not saying limit your options necessarily... autistic people are still people and perfectly capable ones at that, but being considerate is a generally accepted standard, I think, that involves really knowing someone... their fears, joys, annoyances, and comfort zone. So, for the best learning experience for the child... listen to them!!
But beyond that, do share your input as well.... People forget certain aspects of activities sometimes. All of us, I think, do that.. So, if you have a concern, voice it calmly and respectfully with your child so that the equal exchange can be beneficial to both parties rather than devolve into an argument.
With homeschooling, you have the luxury of going just about anywhere you'd like with your child assuming the funds and time are available, so take advantage of that. Many kids, autistic kids, LOOOOVE to learn about the thing s they're interested in, so I'd veer toward a path in which the child seems to take considerable interest.
Another thing to consider is that many, I'd even say the majority, of autistic children have a fervent interest, an obsession, if you will. Why take an afternoon jaunt to the (interest) museum when you could take a few days and see them all? Whether it's dinosaurs, trains, (stereotypes, I know) or batteries.... there's a way to learn about those things somewhere, and a LOT, if you get creative. They won't tire of the topic in a few short days if it's a special interest, so learn all you can while you're out!
Your child will adore you for it, if they have the general autistic obsession thing happening. However, keep in mind that if your child has other issues you're going to have to accommodate those, so factor that into your timeframes and prepare to be flexible if you have to.
You know your child best outside of themselves, so listen and make note of your autistic child's specific needs. Don't like crowds? Bright lights? Loud or sudden noises? Whatever their things are, be prepared to try to circumvent those situations to some degree. Few things are less fun than having a meltdown and not being able enjoy for irritabiiity, lack of focus and energy, the rest of what you were looking forward to... Take breaks as needed, but be prepared to be going, going, going if you really did plan around a special interest too.
Also, many autistic children are quite good at both planning and finding resources you might not have thought to use when it pertains to a special interest. So.. let them be part of the process, if you can!
And,.one last thing, have the parameters- rules, stops, intentions, all of it... spelled out very clearly and distinctly before going on the trip. Don't plan so much you can't complete all the activities. I think most autistic people can agree that changing plans are INFURIATING and can break a whole trip. What may seem like a minor passing up to you, probably won't feel that way to your child.
What tips do you have for taking your homeschooled autistic child on field trips?
My son has a pretty stereotypical one, weather. I use this a LOT as a teaching tool. Natural disasters are a big one for him too, like earthquakes.