Planning a Family Vacation for Kids with Autism
Long car rides, crowded airports and the art of packing. Parents everywhere know the joys and the stresses of the family vacation. Traveling with kids with autism invites an additional layer of thoughtfulness. By combining a healthy dose of flexibility with helpful resources, parents can create memorable experiences for their children that are restorative for the whole family.
5 Travel Tips for Children with Autism
- Prepare, and then prepare again.
When traveling with kids with autism, it is important to research your destination as much as possible and think of creative ways to prepare your child for it. For example, is it a first trip to the beach? Perhaps show them books and videos of the ocean, let them listen to the sound of waves or even have them dip their toes in a bucket of sand.
- Keep them occupied.
If you anticipate long wait times while traveling with kids with autism, it’s a good idea to bring along some of their favorite things to reduce the likelihood of problem behaviors or difficulties with transitions. A familiar toy, game or video can save the family from a mid-trip meltdown.
- Ask for specific services.
Many airports and airlines have programs specifically designed for children with special needs. Make guest services your first stop at amusement parks, ask for a hotel room at the end of the floor or bring a grandparent along for extra hands.
- Adjust your expectations.
Traveling with kids with autism may mean attempting less in a day, taking a shorter trip or finding locations and services that accommodate special needs. A simpler pace in a functional setting can make travel easier on everyone.
- Speak with your Board Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®).
Your child’s BCBA can help you create a family plan for traveling with kids with autism. General tips can be helpful, but ultimately each child’s travel needs are as unique as they are. Speaking with an expert on autism and your child’s specific needs is the best place to start.
Contact us for guidance on traveling with kids with autism this summer.