Traveling with the family is always stressful, but when you have kids with ASD, it can reach a new level of stress. However, with the correct organization, all the family members can have the best trip ever! Helping children with autism to adjust to the new environment and places can make a huge difference in their trips, and all the members have to make an effort while traveling.
Many parents with children within the spectrum can feel scared of venture beyond their cities, towns, and neighborhoods, because of the difficulty in managing the tough behaviors that the little ones can show in public, they also struggle with the shame of the stares, meaning comments and judges by people outside. But truly, traveling with them is not that complicated and can become an amazing experience.
Take these tips!
The best destination
When picking the place to go in the family vacation, it would be important to take into consideration what your child likes and how the new place can impact his or her behavior. According to Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland, a trip to the beach or to the mountains are the best choices to go with children within the spectrum.
Those places can offer flexible schedules and adjusting activities, and they are very vast to accommodate different groups of people, without making the trip stressful for the child and the rest of the family. Children with autism tend to react in unexpected ways to new stimulations, for that reason these relaxed destinations can work better for them, besides try to find the activities that your son or daughter will enjoy; for example, games in the water, whatever in the beach or a lake, can make them feel very relaxed and open to other activities with the family.
Prepare arrangements ahead of time
After setting the destination, the next step will be calling airlines, hotels, and restaurants. With the calling, you will know what kind of procedure they follow when children with special needs are visiting, and with that, you can make all the correct preparations to visit those places.
There have been many rehearsal programs in airports and parks to teach the personnel how to treat and behave with children within the spectrum since many families are now taking the challenge of traveling with them. These practices are making easier for all the people involved to act according to the different situations that can present with those incredible children.
Safety first, and proper identification for your kid can make the difference with danger. Children with ASD tend to wander by themselves, separating of the group and losing while the family is a little distracted, and it can be worse if the child is nonverbal. You can find a necklace or a medical bracelet with the contact information, if someone finds him or her wander or in the middle of a crisis, they can call you right away.
Some children will feel uncomfortable with jewelry, if that is the case, find tags that can be attached to shoelaces or backpacks, also it would be good to make him wear shirts or a ribbon that can be identified as a child with autism. They can attract attention quite easily for that reason, workers and other visitants can contact you when they are lost.
Pack loveys and distractions
When packing try to check the daily routine of your child, that way you will know exactly what item bring, that can help you to calm down. Tablets, cell phones, DVD players, music, books, and stuffed toys can make them feel like if they were at home. If you forget them, you will face a hard challenge and the trip can be easily forgotten.
Role play scenarios
All the family can try to practice different scenarios that can show up in their trip, this will give your child a starting base to feel at ease in the vacation. Another way can be word/picture scenarios, showing the kid the different places that you will be visiting as a family, can help them to get used to them, and making them familiar. Try not to tell the child about the trip too ahead of time, because it can disrupt his behavior and affect his sleeping time, thanks to the anxiety.
Plan activities according to the child
You know your child better than everybody, for that reason the activities should be set according to their hours, “what time do they get tired and need a rest during the day? How many hours should we spend in the amusement park?” Those are the questions that you need to answer before the trip, planning activities for relaxation can be helpful like swimming, that way they can go to bed without any stress for the day. Try to keep the bedtime hours, never skipped them.
With these tips, your vacation can be a successful trip, just adjust them for your child necessities, because his or her happiness with the rest of the family has to be important. The family trips are there for you to have more time and to enjoy activities together. Here at Autism Soccer, we just want the best for your child and the rest of your loved ones; visit us and check all the programs that we offer.
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