“Autism is not a disability, it’s a different ability” Stuart Duncan
Here’s how autism is described by Stuart Duncan, who is a father of a child with autism.
You will be surprised how many beautiful moments you can experience if you start accept your child not as a person who needs constant care, but as a person who is not like everyone and maybe your child will become the reason of your unforgettable journey.
But we should not forget about the important things. Environmental changes, new feelings, meetings can have a negative impact on the child with autism. So before packing the suitcase, you must first prepare the child, give a brief description of what is expected for him. In this case, social stories can help you, where the main “hero” is your child. The virtual journeys where you are going to go, interesting stories about the visiting country and even details about hotel where you are going to stay could be helpful for your child. Planning and organizing everything will help you to enjoy your vacation together with family and be prepared for all the difficulties. Discussions, professionals, advice from friends can be helpful, but ONLY YOU only you know what your child needs at specific times of the day.
Let’s start from the beginning
➤ Prepare visual cards/schedule for every single day. You don’t need words, long sentences. Just simple photos, pictograms or signs.
➤ If you are traveling by plane and if you’re thinking that long waiting, noises could be stressful for your child, then contact the airline, try to describe the situation and use the opportunity of pre-boarding for passengers with disabilities. Many airlines offer additional services for people with special needs.
➤ If you are planning to go on a trip by car, train or by bus, then take headphones, favorite songs, favorite books, toys. In a word, everything that will engage your child on a long way.
➤Contact with hotel, restaurants nearby and check their menu. Children with autism are very sensitive to new food. If you want your child to try new food do it at home, in his/her usual environment. Vacation are not the best place for that.
➤If your child is “in love” with team parks, lego museums, then definitely visit some of them.
➤ Don’t try to be everywhere. Remember, you’re not alone and too much information will negatively affect on your child.
➤ Be sure that your child wears information card with the name, telephone number and contact information ALL THE TIME! This will definitely help in emergency situations.
➤ Finally, even during your vacation, do not forget about encouragements. At the end of each day you can give a child a chocolate or a chance to watch a favorite cartoon for 10-15 minutes or play a favorite game. With this you’ll encourage good behavior. You will see that each single day he/she will show the better behavior.
These are the key steps you can plan and manage in advance. Little troubles will not even disturb you and you will be able to enjoy your trip. Let’s hope that your next trip will be informative and memorable for your child.
Have a nice trip!