Daily life with an Autistic child can be a challenge. Add the prospect of traveling with a child with autism and you know you have to be prepared, to say the least. Here are several things a parent can do when traveling on a vacation, or for another purpose.
1. Plan ahead. If at all possible, plan your trips far in advance. Once you know where you are going and other details, take the time to talk with your child about the trip. Get them used to the idea of traveling. Explain to them where they will be going, and speak of some of the things they will be doing while on the trip.
2. Bring items from home that your Autistic child likes. Pick out some of their favorite toys to bring. Make sure to include the pillow and blanket they use each night. In general, try and keep as many items that are familiar to your child, with you, while traveling. This can help your child to relax in their new environment.
3. Bring all their necessary medications. This may seem obvious, but it is very easy to forget medications in the last minute rush of things before starting a trip. You do not want to be away from home and not have their medicine. Get the prescriptions refilled before the trip to make sure you do not run out.
4. Try and keep a schedule while traveling. If possible maintain some of the same schedule you use while at home. For example, get up and go to bed at the same time each day. Autistic children needs their schedules to feel safe.
5. Do not overload your child. If your child has a lot of sensory issues, do not over load them while sightseeing or doing the other events of our vacation. If you see your child getting overwhelmed, go back to your hotel for a break. Warn your child in advance, if the place you are going has loud noises, or bright lights, if these are issues.
6. Do not force your child to do something they are not comfortable doing. For example, do not make them go to a amusement park if they do not like loud noises and lots of people. Consider bringing a qualified person to watch your child while you visit the park. They could do an activity that your child would like instead.
Note: This is your trip, as well, so you maybe in a new place and have unexpected events to deal with. Relax, have fun, and fulfill the purpose of the trip, of course. But don't take any particular moment while interacting with your child too seriously. If your child or you need a break, take one, that's okay.
7. Make sure your child has his and your identification. Make sure that your child is carrying identification for himself, as well as your name, and a phone number where you can be reached, in case the child gets lost. If your child is verbal, make sure they know how to tell someone they are lost. This can be very difficult for an Autistic child. They often have hard time dealing with people.
8. If you have to travel for an emergency stay as calm as you can. If you are stressed about the trip, your Autistic child will pick up on this and become stressed as well.
9. Take lots of activities the child enjoys to keep them occupied while traveling. This could be hand held games, or a portable DVD player. Having a variety of activites handy can help keep your child from becoming overly bored. It can also give them something to focus on if they start to feel uneasy.
10. Notify the place where you are staying that your child is Autistic. This is very important if your child likes to wander on their own. The staff at the hotel will know if they see the child and you are not with him or her, to contact you right away.
Traveling with an Autistic child will take some extra planning, but it can be done. Just try and keep as much structure to the trip as possible. It will make the trip more enjoyable for you and your child.
About the Author: Scott Harker is the publisher of several websites including: Sparkling Diamonds and Gemstones, Harvest The Sun | Renewable Energy, Grilled To Perfection - Barbecue, Dieting Help | Move More - Eat Less, and On The Hook | Fishing Supplies.
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