Autism and Young Children: Travel Tips for Parents
For parents learning to navigate a world where autism and children go hand in hand, taking a vacation can feel like a bit of a pipe dream. And if you’re just now trying to figure out how to help your child experience life in a positive way, you’re probably thinking that vacations can’t happen, at least until your child gets a little older. The truth is that travel with autistic toddlers and young children is challenging, but it’s also doable. Use these tips to help both you and your child have fun and have new and positive experiences away from home.
Reach Out to Travel Companies
Believe it or not, companies are quickly becoming more helpful people with autism and children with autism. You just have to reach out to them in the first place. Contact guest services with your hotel, airline, train, or tour company and let them know you’re travelling with an autistic child. You’ll be surprised at the number of organizations that provide additional accommodations to help your child better handle the trip.
Make Plans for Special Diets
It’s not uncommon for people with autism and children with autism to follow special diets. Keeping to those diets can be tough when you’re away from home. Instead of struggling to find restaurants that can accommodate your child’s needs whenever they’re hungry, ask for a hotel room with a refrigerator when you make the reservation. This way, you can stock up on snacks and foods you know are safe and will have a way to keep them from spoiling during your trip. And speaking of hotels…don’t hesitate to ask the front desk for recommendations for local restaurants. They know the local area best and will point you in the right direction.
Keep Your Routine as Much as Possible
For adults with autism and children with autism, routines can be a source of safety. And this is especially true for younger toddlers and kids. Vacations and trips will force them to deviate from their daily routine somewhat. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep parts of their routine the same. Think about the activities they do at home on a normal day. Get them up at the same time, let them eat the same types of food as normal (unless they’re feeling adventurous), and give them time to enjoy the activities they would normally do at set times during the day.
Reward Good Behavior
Remember, your child doesn’t want to misbehave. They’re just responding to the stimuli around them. With changing conditions, it’s normal to see an increase in reactions and inappropriate behavior. Instead of focusing on the bad, reward them when they’re behaving well. This can be verbal praise, extra time with a favorite toy, or whatever method you feel is right for your child. Work with your child’s therapist on ways to promote positive behavior.
Schedule an Appointment
Traveling with children is challenging enough on its own. But when you add autism and children into the mix, your trip will be a bit less predictable. Give yourself the tools you need to enjoy a successful and fun trip by scheduling a family therapy appointment today. Contact us to schedule a session with our experienced staff. Autism counseling Denver with the best staff!