Home > In Their Own Words > Camping, uh… sorta

Camping, uh… sorta

Katie* is a ten-year old rising fifth grader who lives with her mom, dad, and eight year-old sister Brooke*, who has autism. Oh, and their awesome dog, Winston. When the spirit moves her, she writes at www.diaryofakatie.wordpress.com.

* Not their real names. (Except the dog.) 

Last night Brooke and I went camping. Sort of. We kinda set up the camping gear in my room, cause Mama didn’t want us outside. It was fun anyway. I put up my tent and Brooke slept in my teepee. Yes, we did bring a couple of pillows, stuffed animals and two sleeping bags and a TON of books. I think I might have emptied out Brooke’s whole book shelf! For me, I just brought a few long chapter books.

She got kind of upset last night cause I was sniffling and it makes her ears hurt. She said she was scared. I’m not sure if she was really scared. She might have been, but I think it was more that she was hurt and maybe a little angry. I wouldn’t say scared, but I guess it’s possible.

She doesn’t really understand the names of emotions.They get mixed up in her head and then she doesn’t know what to say so she just says scared. Like when I asked her how she felt when she was crying, she screamed “HAPPY!” And of course I don’t think that was the right answer. We practice with her and it helps a little, but sometimes it’s really frustrating when she screams that she’s happy with tears streaming down her face.

She finally calmed down and we went into our tents. We took all of the books out of the teepee and put them next to it. I think I kinda went overboard with the books. She might have been buried in there! I also put in, in case she finished the books – which was doubtful – a soccer ball, a toy car that I built, and three Barbie dolls. I left about two books in the tent in case she wanted to read before going to sleep. I did the same. I turned on my flashlight and opened my book.

I could hear next to me “MmmmMmmmmMMMmmmmmMMMmm” … the little stimmy noises that she makes. Soon I heard her softly singing, “Row your boat” I just smiled. Sometimes her noises and songs are pretty annoying, but this time I liked it. It made me feel calm. I curled up and fell asleep.

Someday I hope I get to go camping outside, cause the inside version was fun, but I’ll bet the outside version would be even more fun!

“In Their Own Words” is a series within the Autism Speaks blog which shares the voices of people who have autism, as well as their loved ones. If you have a story you wish to share about your personal experience with autism, please send it to editors@autismspeaks.org. Autism Speaks reserves the right to edit contributions for space, style and content. Because of the volume of submissions, not all can be published on the site.

  1. alsopollyanna
    June 23, 2011 at 3:23 pm

    “Katie”, THANKS 4 trying sumthing new w/ Ur sister! Sounds “Like” it would B FUN!!

  2. Nancy Delaney
    June 24, 2011 at 10:47 am

    You are a wonderful sister. You will always be blessed. I hope you and your sister do many many more fun things together.

  3. June 24, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I love you so much, sweet girl. I am so incredibly proud to be your mama!

  4. June 24, 2011 at 12:17 pm

    This picture made me tear up – i mean – my eyes started sweating, Yeah, That’s what happened – eye sweat. My last experience camping with my two boys affected by autism was a bit… different: Here’s what happened –> http://1in110.com/?p=3898

  5. Maureen Jago
    June 24, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    My son loves camping he relaxes so much when we go.He becomes very mellow.He spends alot of his day in the water.Sometimes he doesn’t like the animals sounds at night though it can be scary if you don’t know whats out there in the dark.I hope some day you go camping outside too.It is alot of fun as well.

  6. Stacey Dickey
    June 24, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    You are an awesome young lady!!! thank you for sharing. Brooke is so blessed to have you and she is blessed to have you as well!!! She will learn so much from you and look up to you. You also will learn so much from her as well. This post made my not so great day turn around in a second!!!

    thank you again!!!

  7. June 24, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    Katie, you are a pretty amazing young girl. That sister love is an “unconditional love” and even though I don’t know you/have never met you, I am so very proud of you. God Bless you and your family.

  8. Karina Mera
    June 24, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    Katie your sister is lucky to have a loving sister like you! You are angel sent the the heavens above!

  9. June 24, 2011 at 2:57 pm

    I hope my boys will be as close as these sisters when they’re older. =3

  10. Ms. Walker
    June 24, 2011 at 5:41 pm

    Way to go, Katie – you continue to amaze and inspire me in so many ways!

  11. Kimberly S.
    June 24, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    That’s great, you got to share a little sister time, just you and her, and got to camp out… well, sort of!!! I have two kids on the Spectrum, and one who isn’t, so I know how difficult it can be sometimes when you don’t get to do all the things other kids get to. The rewards far outweigh the negatives, though… you get to see a whole other world without even leaving your house :). You’re a great big sister, I see lots of fun times together in your future. Keep smiling, and keep being a great role model!

  12. June 25, 2011 at 8:23 am

    I am so happy u spent time with sis! praise God!

  13. Noreen
    June 25, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    You sound like an awesome sister :) They always hum or sing when they are happy in our experience. It’s always smart to prepare them for the “real thing” like camping so not only are you being a great sister and engaging her but you are also teaching and preparing her, like a great big sis should do! Way to go!

  14. Sue
    June 26, 2011 at 9:08 pm

    you show your love for your sister in a very special way, keep it up. WONDERFUL story.

  15. Becky
    June 28, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    You remind me so much of my 9 year old daughter! You are an amazing girl Katie!

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