If I look back and reflect on my own schooling, the overnight residential trips definitely come out high on my list of priorities. But for many young people with an Autism diagnosis they can all too easily become situations which are highly stressful rather than enjoyable.
If you are a teacher organising such a trip the following tips will help ensure it remains the positive experience you want it to be.
- Provide information for parents and young people as far in advance of the trip as possible. A written schedule of the itinerary is particularly helpful in order to help young people feel secure about the plans that are made.
- Consider groupings for the trip carefully. Young people’s anxiety levels are likely to be high when embarking on this kind of adventure, and ensuring that they are placed in a group where they feel able to be themselves will make an enormous difference to the experience they have.
- Ensure at least one member of staff going on the trip is someone the young person feels comfortable with, and provide opportunities for them to spend time with that staff member ahead of the visit to answer any questions they may have.
- Once on the trip providing opportunities and an area where young people can escape from the hustle and bustle is crucial. Many young people mask when at school then return home to decompress. If they are remaining around others for a long period of time a way of achieving this will be essential.
- Planning sleeping arrangements carefully and ensuring young people are placed with those who they feel comfortable with will make a big difference to their ability to sleep and therefore to cope with the trip as a whole.
- Liaise with parents regularly both in the lead up to the trip and during the trip itself if any problems arise. Remember at all times that they are the expert in their child, and if they feel well prepared they are much better able to prepare their child.
Why not join our lovely, friendly Facebook Group full of parents determined to help their children be #UNIQUEANDSUCCESSFUL.
If you do want to learn more you might find our autism section a useful place to start. It’s full of different strategies to try out.
Or if you’re looking for more personal support to help you take that action, why not check out our Consultancy Services.