ADDRESS

650 Olive Street
Shreveport, LA 71104

Hunting is a way of life in Louisiana.  Our traditions have been depicted through popular television shows such as: Duck Dynasty and Swamp People.  Although there are some exaggerations on TV, most Louisiana natives enjoy the outdoors and want to share that pastime with our children.  Passing on these traditions can be difficult for parents with children who have Autism and other related disorders.  In this article, I would like to share some tips on how to help your children enjoy a day of hunting.

 

Transitioning:

Children with Autism can have difficulty transitioning from one setting to another.  It is important that we prepare them for what it will be like at the camp, deer stand, or duck blind.  Following these tips can increase the likelihood for successful transition:

 

  • Visual Schedules:Use a visual calendar to alert your child of the trip that will be coming up. Give them at least a 7-day notice and talk about what you will be doing.

 

  • Duration:Take a short trip. Don’t plan an all night trip the first time you go, instead go with just enough time to see everything and leave without incident. Increase the time you are there slightly with each trip. If your child begins to complain, the trip is likely not reinforcing and the likelihood of them wanting to come back is not good.

 

  • Reinforcement:Plan to do a reinforcing activity with your child during the trip. (Playing favorite game, eating favorite food, watching favorite tv program). I recommend you schedule several reinforcing activities. The goal is for them to be excited about going back!

 

Create a Safe Environment:

Children with Autism and related disorders often utilize accommodations to adapt to their environment. Keeping them safe and happy should be our number one concern.  Here are a few tips to assist in providing a safe and happy hunt.

 

  • Bring familiar items to the camp and blind. (Game devices, books, toys, etc…)

 

  • Take a tour of the camp or blind. Make sure your child has an opportunity to orient to the new environment.

 

  • Keep guns and ammunition locked when not in use. This is good practice with all children.

 

  • Use shooting guides (Slotted guides for the barrel of the gun to go through) when possible to assist in safety. Guides put a limit on where your child can shoot.

 

  • Use large earmuffs to limit sensory issues due to gunshots.

 

Keep the Goal in Mind:

Remember, these trips are not about your conquest of a trophy duck or a limit of ducks. The goal of the trip is to help your child enjoy the great outdoors and share in the traditions we so greatly love. If you are planning to enjoy the great outdoors with your child or have an tips or questions please post a comment.