One of the most enjoyable times of the year is when you’re able to take a break off work to have fun with your child. However, going on vacation with a child with autism can sometimes bring unexpected worries that need to be taken into consideration before you head off. Preplanning will determine the success of an autism-friendly holiday.
How To Make Your Next Vacation Autism Friendly
Plan your vacation together.
Travelling is an exciting time for children and nothing will calm their nerves down like a good look through the available destinations. Spend time looking at photographs, videos or browsing the internet with your child so you can pick a destination together. Make sure there are plenty of pictures to help your child remember the location so they can start looking forward to the vacation as soon as possible. Plan a timetable as well so your child will know exactly where they’ll be going as well as what time they need to get ready. Keep in mind any situations during travel that might require your child to sit and wait. It’s best to bring a smartphone or a portable games console to keep your child busy while there are delays. Never leave home without headphones and favorite snacks either. You want the traveling portion to set the tone for success for the rest of the trip.
Familiarize your child with travelling.
Before you travel, try and get out more with your child. Go to local parks, familiarize your child with modes of transport, work on being flexible with the inevitability of delays, and see what helps to distract your child when they’re feeling restless. This can be a good way to gauge the possibility of taking your child on longer holidays or trips. It can help you bond with your child helping you to understand their worries so you can learn how to ease them in the future.
Build anticipation for the location.
As part of the planning process, get your child excited about the many things to see and do in that location. For instance, look at things for kids to do in Lancaster if you plan to visit Pennsylvania, or compile a list of attractions that your child wants to visit when you arrive at a theme park or hotel. Watch videos abut what to see or do in the area and let your child help you prepare a tentative schedule for the trip. This helps them feel in control while also minimizing surprises.
Always seek more options.
When possible, seek more options that will help your child cope with being away from home. For instance, book seats with extra legroom if possible when booking your flights. Ask for or bring your own noise-cancelling headphones for the flight, and try to get seats that feel less confining so that your child can relax. When looking at accommodations, try to pick a hotel that is willing to be flexible. Pick a room that is further away from loud noises or crowds, and make sure they’re able to guarantee those room requirements. Call the hotel in advance to make them aware your child has autism. See if they can provide door alarms to keep your child from wandering.
As with most things with autism, a little advance preparation can go a long way towards determining the success of your vacation. Your child wants your trip to be successful just as much as you do. If you are going to spend all that money on a vacation then at least make it a good one. Fun travel memories will help you get through the tough days a well as to function as a team. Don’t hesitate to take your child with autism out to see the world.