Show your child what is expected of him/her and what is to be expected of the trip. This is a great time to get your visual schedules out that we discussed in a previous blog, Serious Schedulers. Include on your schedule the steps it takes to travel from packing to the security line to sitting on the airplane to getting to your hotel room. Have your child watch videos about your destination. If it’s Disney Land, talk about all of the characters you might see and the rides you might go on. Look at pictures of the nearby beach. Watch travel shows about Disney Land and Anaheim, California with your family before you go. Use this as an opportunity to teach and get yourself and your family excited about an adventure!
Choose trips that tailor to your child’s interests. You can use activities that you know your child LOVES doing as reinforcement for trying new things. Perhaps use a visual choice board to help your child understand his or her options.
Keep a look out for special passes for families with disabilities. Most large theme parks provide passes that will let families with special needs easily skip through the ridiculously long ticket lines.
No matter how much you prepare, it is very possible there will be hiccups in your plans. Let’s expect this and plan accordingly! Just in case you get separated, have your child wear identification. Many parents also have their children wear a bright blue “I have autism” shirt to make others aware of what their children and families are working with. Use this opportunity to teach others about autism, which will in turn help others be more patient, respectful, and understanding of your situation.
Let’s be honest. We all need down time- you and your family. No matter who you are, traveling is stressful. Allow yourself some time to relax and be boring in your hotel room. Think of this as fuel for your next awesome activity.
Recently there has been a big push by the autism community to make flying easier. According to this NY Times article, several airports have begun to offer “’mock boarding’ experiences” so that families can practice all of the steps it takes to successfully walk through those big glass doors of the airport with your luggage in hand, ready for your adventure. NY Times also mentioned TSA Cares, a hotline to help people with disabilities and their caretakers through security checkpoints. PEOPLE magazine said to look out for a newly developed nonprofit, AIR (Autism Inclusion Resources), recently developed by a Philadelphian physician, that “helps families soar” through the skies to their destinations.
Tell us about your travel tips and adventures!
Send us a picture of your family while on vacation and let us know if you have any travel tips! We will touch back on the topic of traveling before the next holiday! Email pics/tips to email@example.com.
IEP Pointer of the Week:
Make sure that all goals are written to independence in your child’s Individualized Educational Plan so that your child has a chance to reach his or her fullest potential!
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