Preparing Your Child With Autism for Travel

Preparing Your Child With Autism for Travel

Preparing your Child with Autism for Travel

Before Travel

Use online videos to create a sense of familiarity In today’s world, many tourists create short videos and share them on  YouTube, Flickr, and Vimeo. Search the destinations you are about to visit and bookmark them so your child can watch them repeatedly to familiarize himself or herself with the places. Library books and movies Before you set out on your adventure, head on to the local library for books and movies about the places you will be visiting.It can be especially useful for look for picture books and children’s  books to interest younger kids in the sites you will explore.  Online resources Do a quick Google image search and bookmark or print some pictures for a social story that you can put together on everything that can be expected during the trip. The collection should include photos of the airport, airplane, train station, and ship when applicable, as well as the hotel(s) or any other planned place of lodging and the different landmarks or attractions you’ll be visiting. For lower functioning kids it might be helpful to create a picture schedule for the day-to-day activities that your child with autism can follow throughout the course of the trip. You may want to have your child write a report or write down a few of the things he or she is excited to see.Your child with autism can also use this report to share information with other friends and family members who are planning to travel with you. Travel presents a unique opportunity for kids with autism to learn how to use maps. Teach your children to read maps with online applications like Google maps where they can track all the places you are about to explore. Attend dry-run flights or  cruises Some children may benefit from attending mock flight organized by airlines and airports or visiting a cruise ship for the afternoon to give them (as well as their parents) a sense of what to expect during the actual travel. For events in your area get in touch with the leading autism organizations the likes of Autism Speaks, contact your local airport or check with the major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean for specific dates.

During travel

Download family pictures Bring a bit of home with you by downloading on your phone or tablet a few photos of the home, family members, friends, and pets to remind your child that they will all be waiting patiently for his or her return. Bring along some favorites Many moms to kids with autism have fondly nicknamed it the bag of tricks but in reality, each parent should pack whatever fascinates their child and can hold their interest for prolonged periods of time in places like airports and flights. Suggestions for your family’s bag of tricks can include coloring books, reading books, board games, fidget toys, DVDs along with a player, I-pods, I- -phones and I-pads.  Pack some comfort Along with taking the right gear to keep your child entertained, you need to make sure they will feel comfortable especially during bedtime. So, make sure to replicate the conditions of your home while you are on the road by bringing along whatever your child is accustomed to sleeping with whether it is a  sound machine, stuffed animal, or favorite pillow. Have you traveled with a  child on the Autism Spectrum-what tips would you like to add?     ]]>

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Margalit Sturm Francus
A reformed dentist who gave up pulling teeth to show her son the world! Need tips on how to #travel with #autism? Follow me on Instagram & Facebook
Margalit Sturm Francus

Margalit Sturm Francus

A reformed dentist who gave up pulling teeth to show her son the world! Need tips on how to #travel with #autism? Follow me on Instagram & Facebook

0 thoughts on “Preparing Your Child With Autism for Travel

  • September 22, 2013 at 3:26 am
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    Great tips! Will share on the Special Mouse podcast FB page! (I have a 15 yr old son with autism) Thanks —

    Reply
    • Margalit Sturm Francus
      October 3, 2013 at 11:55 pm
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      Hi Kathy,
      Thanks for stopping by and for sharing our tips. We are big fans of your podcasts and of your site,www.specialmouse.com.

      Reply
  • May 2, 2013 at 2:32 am
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    Hi, I have a young lady with autism. When she was a young girl and non verbal, she became very agitated when we would take a different route to church or the store than we had previously. We found this to be quite upsetting as she would unbuckle her seatbelt and try to open the car door. She had even more of a problem when we went out of town. For many years we didn’t try at all. As my husband drove, I noticed that Kim would follow a segment of road with her head as she went by. She was trying to memorize our way a section at a time!! I’m guessing so that she could find her way back home. That is when I knew that we needed a map. Found one that was simplified and plastic/laminated. As we headed out, my oldest daughter assisted Kim in locating our home town, then told her to point to the next town on the map. When we arrived at that town, we all cried out (softly) the town’s name and pointed to the sign. Her anxiety eased as she saw that we would not fall off the face of the earth if we went past the city limits! Opened up a whole new life for us. As we headed home, we repeated the process and Kim was over joyed to see that we could make our way back home. I hope this helps you…and there are other traveling tips for younger ones.
    Thank you for your time and attention,
    Eileen Miller

    Reply
    • Margalit Sturm Francus
      May 2, 2013 at 2:44 am
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      Thank you Eileen for your great tip.I totally understand where your kid is coming from!My son likes to follow our car ride on his phone on a GPS app.

      Reply
      • May 2, 2013 at 3:57 pm
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        LOL! We were pre-smart phones…and CELL PHONES for that matter!! Gosh, I feel dated! We were low tech then 😉

        Reply
        • Margalit Sturm Francus
          May 2, 2013 at 7:32 pm
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          Those days must have been tougher! In today’s I-pads and cell phones occupying kids with autism is a lot easier.When we started traveling with our kids back in 2001 we had ‘only’ Gameboys and DVD players .

          Reply
    • Margalit Sturm Francus
      May 5, 2013 at 11:48 pm
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      Hi Eileen,
      Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story!
      What an amazing daughter you have!
      It is parents like you that inspire me to post my tips so others can learn and practice with their kids too.
      PLease come back and share more of your wonderful experiences with our readers.

      Reply

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