Here are a couple of travel tips and tricks for families with autistic children. Let’s get into it.
Are you planning a vacation but wondering what to do when traveling with autistic children? For families with children on the spectrum, the idea of dealing with this is kind of stressful.
Nonetheless, your journey with an autistic child doesn't have to be a thing of nightmares. Having a few things prepared prior to travel can put your mind at ease.
Here are a couple of travel tips and tricks for families with autistic children. Let's get into it!
Prepare your child before the trip
An important part of preparing your child for a trip is to create a jam-packed schedule. Cut down on surprises, and explain the events and any unfamiliar places before you go so your child will know what to expect.
Also, preparing your child in advance for toilet training is key in ensuring they'll be comfortable throughout the way. To do this, potty training help for a child with autism in the weeks leading up to your trip is essential. Create a stable routine utilizing the same phrases that you would use at home.
Remember that Autism affects everyone differently. So as a parent, take the extra time to research places you will visit to ensure they will be accessible and accommodating.
Bring their favorite toys and comfort items
Knowing what your child needs to be comfortable during their travels can make the trip a much more manageable experience. Doing this will give your children a sense of familiarity while they are in a new place. It will remind them of home during their travels.
Also help them remain entertained, to better adjust to new environments. A few items to consider bringing would be the things such as:
- Weighted blankets
- A pillow
- A favorite stuffed animal
- Any gadgets they find soothing
- Noise-canceling headphones
Additionally, preferred toys can help ease anxiety due to changes in routine. It will help soothe during times of distress, or simply provide a much-needed distraction.
Create an itinerary of activities
Create an itinerary of activities that will be interesting and great for your child. These should be planning activities for periods after busy environments. One good example of an exciting venture may be capturing memories with a disposable camera.
Let your child explore and take pictures and then review the photos together. Additionally, allow for flexible breaks from activities and moments of rest and quiet activities such as reading or using an iPad.
As part of their tour, parents should consider including some downtime to allow their children to recharge. Finally, stay positive, and don’t forget to plan and enjoy fun activities for the whole family.
Choose a safe and accessible travel destinations
An accessible and safe travel destination is essential when planning your next vacation. Here are a few useful travel tips to consider:
- Restrooms spots
- Place of accommodation
- Transportation methods
Research your destination in advance, as this will help you plan ahead and mitigate any unexpected surprises while on your trip. Be open to change and plan for interruptions to your schedule. Don't forget to provide plenty of sensory breaks and activities that your child will enjoy.
In addition, you have to familiarize yourself with the local laws, regulations, and culture as these things can differ from place to place. Lastly, find a supportive medical team within the area you are traveling to, in case of an emergency.
Maintain familiar food sources
It is very important to maintain familiar food sources for your child on your journey. Even simple changes like switching to a different type of cereal can become overwhelming. Wherever possible, try to pack favorite foods your children with autism like and trust.
Be thoughtful when you go out to eat as well. Identify restaurants that serve familiar foods in advance, so you can ensure your children are comfortable. Additionally, bring snacks along for long trips in the car.
It is also essential to recognize that your child may need larger portions of their favorite food. Allowing time to eat one of these foods before moving to something new may make them more willing to try something new.
Ensure the environment is stress-free
Ensuring the environment is stress-free for the child is also important. This means creating a calm atmosphere and providing a cozy place in which the child can interact.
Similarly, a quiet area in which they can relax and re-energize can provide great relief for them. Finally, parents should plan the journey in advance in order to reduce any stress and anxiety. This will minimize the probability of behavioral issues along the way.
Utilize physical activity breaks
Parents should plan to utilize physical activity breaks when traveling with a child with hidden disabilities. This can help to boost their energy and mood throughout the journey. Before setting off, plan out some physical activities that your child will enjoy.
Make sure to keep them active and engaged most of the time. This could include physical activities such as walking, jumping, running, or even jumping rope. Additionally, structure the breaks so that your child can enjoy the activities that are common and calming to them.
Incorporate music and stories if possible, as this can help provide some consistency and security. Finally, make sure to stay hydrated and have plenty of snacks on-hand.
Have a plan for meltdowns and remain calm
Parents should discuss potential scenarios with the child in advance and create a safety plan for unpredictable actions. It’s crucial to remain calm and patient to ensure the child feels safe and secure.
A couple of tips to remain steady in tense situations include:
- Breathing deeply
- Counting to ten
- Utilizing distractions techniques
- Playing music
- Repeating reassuring phrases
Oftentimes, a meltdown can be lessened by recognizing its onset and providing the child with a sense of control like offering multiple options or giving an opportunity to redirect focus. Knowing how to handle tantrums will help provide peace of mind and an enjoyable trip for everybody.
It's important for parents to remember that traveling with autistic children can be a positive experience for everyone involved. By taking the time to plan ahead, parents can empower their families to have an enjoyable and beneficial travel experience.
With the right preparation and a helpful travel guide, you can make lasting memories with each other. Try these tips today and start exploring the world safely!