An autistic child

Old Oct 21st, 2003, 04:23 PM
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An autistic child

My family is planning a cruise for February on Serenade of the Seas. This will be our 5th cruise. Friends of ours who have an autistic child (4 years old) would like to go with us? He is very active, doesn't talk much, is not potty trained and basically a handful. They could afford to hire a private babysitter onboard. Has anyone had any experience with this. I don't want to spoil our vacation or those around us. They are close friends and don't want to hurt them either. Help!
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Old Oct 22nd, 2003, 03:39 AM
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If I were your friends I would worry about the quality of childcare available for a special needs kid. But that was not your question, I know.

It is always difficult to deal with family or friends who want to tag along on a planned vacation - we have allowed it to happen twice, once with family, once with friends, and regretted it both times. The issue of their son makes diplomacy even harder. I would probably tell them something like this is a special "family only" trip so you can all spend quality time together or some pleasant lie like that, and hope they get the message.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2003, 04:36 AM
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I would agree with gail and try to politely discourage them. We have a family friend with an autistic child who doesn't speak, but makes a lot of other noise. While I am sympathetic about his condition, he is very disruptive at parties, etc. We can't even sing Happy Birthday or take pictures without him causing a commotion. If they were to invite themselves on our cruise, I would say I changed my plans and then plan something privately without telling them. Even if they found out, they should certainly understand.
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Old Oct 22nd, 2003, 05:45 AM
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Have they considered taking someone who already babysits for them along on the cruise?
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Old Oct 22nd, 2003, 12:04 PM
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As mother and aunt of a child with Asperger syndrome, I can see a couple of solutions.
The first would be to tell them that if they want to come, fine, but they will need to bring their regular baby-sitter. Autistic children generally tolerate change, especially as concerns unfamiliar people, poorly at this age.
Another choice would be to leave the child at home or with a grandparent; however, if you are taking your kids, that could be a problem. If it's an adults only thing, they shouldn't be hurt by this suggestion.

Bottom line is that they know that their child is autistic and will have to deal with it--my son used to make weird sounds when he was about that age--I told him to stop whenever he did it, and he quit. A lot of it has to do with how much the parents want to invest in teaching their child to look "normal". Autistic children are for the most part of normal or above average intelligence and can be taught--a vacation with another family is probably not the time to do it though. By the way, my son is now 12, and most people would not be able to tell there is anything wrong with him, maybe at most they would just think he is a bit different. But it takes a lot of work.
My nephew wasn't potty trained till he was 5, and it is still very apparent that he has a problem, but we go on trips with no trouble as he is not allowed to be disruptive.
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