Every 5th graders experience a week at Outdoor Ed with their school in CA. We have heard of it and we knew we wanted Milo to do it with his class. Milo attended his first away camp at Enchanted Hills Camp (EHC) two summers ago and he enjoyed it very much. EHC serves blind/low vision kids and we had no hesitation when we sent Milo there for his first time since we know he would be very well taken care of in terms of his visual needs. With the Outdoor Ed, we had some concerns, mostly logistic and we worked them out with Milo’s O&M teacher several months in advance to come up with a plan to get him ready along with his VI team at school.
Here was the list that we wanted more info on or had concern with prior to the outing:
- What activities will there be starting at dusk and night time and where would they be in relation to his cabin (since Milo’s can’t see at night)?
- If there is no bathroom in his cabin, what can be done to assist him to go out in the dark when he needs to go (and to make sure he won’t feel embarrassed)?
- Can we request that he gets the lower bunk bed in his cabin for easy access?
- There is a scheduled night hike they go on and instead of opting out, can he have someone (an adult) that will be with him the whole time. What other evening/night activities are scheduled?
These are the few questions that I had and I brought them up at his IEP before he started 5th grade. The school and his specialists agreed that Milo will get a full time aide with him during the whole trip and that Milo’s O&M will try to be there on his first day to get him situated and to let the staff at the site know of his VI needs. His O&M also took Milo on trails to get him familiar with uneven terrain. The school also put in a request well in advance for Milo to get a cabin with a bathroom and an extra bed for his aide to be in the same cabin with him along with his peers. Another suggestion that the school and us had was to to assign a close friend of Milo to be his cabin mate and group so that Milo will feel more relaxed knowing he can ask his friend for help.
Milo was very excited for his trip and because of the amazing support we have from his specialists and from his school, we were so happy that Milo could join his class.
When Milo returned home, he was very happy with his experience and had more positive than negative comments. One of the main negative factor to his trip was the cold and wet weather especially when they went to the beach.
We are very lucky to be in an amazing school district where we never feel like we have to fight hard for his services. We always know that if we need anything, we can ask his team. We are always so grateful for his team and it makes me so upset when I know that it is not the case for a lot of kids and their families.