Vacations & Autism
Families of children with special needs often avoid taking family vacations as they feel it would be difficult to find a new place that will be adaptable to their child’s special needs. Children on the autism spectrum can have a difficult time dealing with the changing schedules and routines that come with taking a holiday trip. However, this does not mean that they should not have the opportunity to explore the world around them like other children. A little mindfulness and preparation on the part of the family members can help make a welcome break for the entire family.
Tips and Suggestions
- Research the airline service and hotel. Make inquiries prior to your traveling date in order to learn if there will be any difficulty in accommodating your child. Prepare the airline and hotel for possible scenarios but do not offend/scare them in the process.
- Ensure that your child is okay with flying. Autism experts and doctors recommended showing pictures of aircrafts to the child to help familiarize them. You might also watch videos about flying or borrow books from the library about air travel to share with your child. If possible let them choose their seat; this will give them more control over the process, so they do not get anxious or scared.
- Think of safety measures. Let your hotel know of any special services that you might require. Some children with autism have a tendency to wander. Ensure that they cannot get out of the room in the middle of the night while everyone else is asleep. Complicated lock systems that only the parents can operate is a good idea in cases like these. Perhaps, also try to avoid rooms with a terrace or balcony as they can prove dangerous. Ask about the hotel’s food service as children with autism often have unique eating patterns.
- Keep any documentation you may have handy from your child’s physician or school. It may help you avoid any problems with the airport security. It may also help you skip lines as children with autism can have difficulty waiting, especially in a noisy, crowded and unfamiliar place. In addition, the information in the letter may help the airline and hotel service you more effectively.
Last but not the least, be prepared. There can be flight delays or limited access to food or entertainment. Ready yourself with snacks and toys that will keep your child occupied in the event of unforeseen circumstances.
Need more help?
The therapists at Agor Behavioral Health Services are available to assist families navigating issues related to a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Contact us today for more information or to schedule an appointment by calling 630-621-5824.