Trip to Wonderful

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A tale of two search engines

What's the first thing any writer does when they come up with an idea for a new book?

They check to see if it's been published already. At least, that's what I did, a writer with one piddly book under her belt (okay, it was a chapter in an obscure volume on gender archaeology.)

So I thoughtfully typed in the simple search term, "Travel with special needs kids".

The results? Well, I got a couple of resource books telling me that special kids need special parents. Anything about a special parent who can read a map and a compass? A special parent who can pitch a tent? Roast marshmallows? Fend off rattlesnakes? Nope. Checked the table of contents, because, you know, I could have missed something in the extensive reviews, but, no, nothing about venturing further from your backyard trampoline with your "special needs child".

So maybe I was being too general. Let's try the specific, "Travel children autism".

Well, that gets me 123 books, not one which deals with travelling with autistic children. So how about the ultra-descriptive, "Camping with autistic children"? Result? "

Book search results: we found no results that closely match your search

Travel with autistic children? The same.

The fact is, there is not a single book in print which discusses in length and detail the joys, and challenges, of travelling with special needs children, and neurologically/genetically exception children in particular. Nothing. Nada. Zilch.

So like any seasoned researcher, I turned to the web, as we all know that the truly cutting edge information on any given subject first appears on the "Internets." Releasing the Googling monkeys with the search term, "camping with children with autism", I pulled up an amazing 43,300 sites, give or take a few. Sadly, 43,299 of them were about sending your autistic child to summer camp; the other was selling Viagra.

To be honest, this is not all that surprising. The current patronistic society, aka parens patri, the current modus operandi for "dealing" with non-school/therapy time for special needs kids is to shuffle them off to a new school/therapy environment, this one in the guise of a "summer camp". The care, and enjoyment, of children is handed off to those deemed more qualified to deal with their needs, but who is really more qualified do understand our children's need (and dreams and goals) than their parents.

Society needs to cherish the bond between parent and special needs child, and to nurture it, like it claims to want to nourish the bond between parent and "normal" children. To accomplish this, society/government/community needs to promote accomodation, not separation. Vacation, whether at home or on the road, should be a time when familes can enjoy each other without added stress: This may mean in-home support (not childcare) to help with the added challenges of altered schedules, or a more helpful and understanding public for familes who decide to hit the road, to the beach, mountains or amusement part.


  • I believe there are no books on this stuff. Everything I ever learned about anything autistically related came from parents on listservs or Yahoo groups.

    I don't envy you the move, let alone the travel across country!!!! We moved last year, and I know what that was like...... But we have traveled all over with my AS son. Anything you want to know, just ask!

    p.s. he hates camping. Bugs!!! That sensory thing.....

    By Blogger Moi ;), at 9:20 PM  

  • Ha! Our bug-phobic kid is Kezzie, the NT 2.5 year old. Never happened before, but suddenly even a fly elicits a display of terror. Sigh.

    By Blogger MB, at 6:29 PM  

  • Bug says it's the buzzing. Sensory issues, doncha know?!

    By Blogger Moi ;), at 6:31 PM  

  • BTW, I hope to include travel information for non-camping vacations as well, such as hotels, amusement parks, rental properties, etc. We'll even be abandoning the pop-up at times - I'm not camping on the National Mall, that's for sure ;-).

    By Blogger MB, at 4:49 AM  

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