Four Main Reasons Why Families with Autism Don’t Travel
On this site, our primary mission is to help all families experience the best parts of travel.
However, it’s important to discuss why families who have kids on the autism spectrum often chose not to venture anywhere. Our credo is that if we can correctly pinpoint why these parents frequently avoid travel, everyone involved in the travel process would be able to help these families travel better and more often.
Many parents of children with autism are often unaware of exactly how to get the accommodations they need during travel. Frequently, parents think that such requests are impossible to ask for during booking. Ironically, there are some travel agencies with trained travel agents specifically for families with special needs. However, these travel agents are often not marketed successfully. The same situation happens with other special needs services that travel agencies and companies offer. A lack of information leads many families to believe there is no way for them to get what their family requires.
To help with these challenges, travel companies need to advertise their special needs services properly. This scenario is a win-win for everyone involved. Parents will know about their travel options, and companies will get more business from customers who now know about the possibilities of travel for their families.
Affordability is a huge issue that many families have to manage. However, parents of children with autism often don’t know about their options. Families with members who have special needs have a lot more to worry when it comes to finances; from medical costs to daily living.So, though, some places offer discounts for special needs children and adults, parents might not know about these deals.
We believe that more companies should offer deals for families with autism and other special needs to help with affordability, Much like with advertising travel services, this will also encourage more families to travel and get the most out of their experience.
Proper organization is one of the hallmarks of travel with autism.However, dealing with organizational details can be a challenge for many families with autism. Parents of children with autism need to be ready for just about anything. It’s easy to set up an environment where this preparation is possible at home. But it isn’t as easy to set up the same environment during travel. The organization can become a real challenge in places the parent doesn’t have a lot of control over the environment, such as in a hotel room or restaurant with specific rules or unchangeable setups.
In order to assist with this issue, more destinations should be willing to adjust and accommodate specific needs. It would also be great to see more families get over their inhibitions and share their particular needs with customer service representatives of different hotels, airlines, cruise lines and theme parks.
Issues with Prepping Kid(s)
Finally, one of the biggest issues families run into for travel is prepping their children.
Some children are wary about travel. However, children with autism deal with their own particular anxieties when it comes to vacationing. Many have never been far from their home and may have issues with being in an unfamiliar environment and changing familiar routines.
In fact, some travel destinations offer unusual sensations that may upset kids with autism, such as strong smells or loud sounds. Even the process of traveling to the destination itself can provide challenges, such as going through an airport terminal and having to remove one’s shoes. Even though there are plenty of options to try to mitigate these problems, they often can’t all be avoided. Therefore, parents need to know how to prepare their child for any of these possible scenarios.
To help families, there should be more literature on helping special needs kids with travel challenges as well as their parents. The more resources parents have, the more they’ll be able to see travel as something achievable for their family.
Since people on the autism spectrum are so different, there may be other reasons that some would have encountered. We would love to hear about them and how you and your family solved them if you did. So, please use the comment box below and share your own experiences with us.
0 thoughts on “Four Main Reasons Why Families with Autism Don’t Travel”
Thank you for an insightful article! These confirm my suspicions about why those with autism in the family are afraid to travel. Thankfully, my kids (both autistic) grew up traveling (mostly in the car). We definitely experienced several meltdown moments during air travel and in very sensory-intense environments. We pushed through those challenges, because we recognized the immense benefits of travel and taking vacations with our kids. More often than not, they surprised us with social or language improvements while on these trips. If only autism families could understand that by taking a risk with travel, they open themselves up to amazing growth.
Regarding “prepping those with autism” for the travel experience, I believe watching videos of the places we planned to visit helped tremendously. My daughter refused to go on certain Walt Disney World attractions until she started watching point-of-view videos of those attractions several times. She overcame her fears to ride The Haunted Mansion and Space Mountain by knowing what to expect ahead of time. Now she can ride most roller-coasters at local amusement parks, even those that are inverted! This is a big deal because it shows how much confidence she has gained to do the “scary things”. This translates to taking more risks in other areas of her life. To me, travel is actually an integral part of achieving therapeutic goals.
Because I love travel so much and my autistic kids have accomplished so much during those times, I now blog about these experiences and became an autism-travel focused agent. One of my clients is a special-needs adult who has never flown or traveled out of the state. I am SO incredibly excited to help her plan her dream trip! I am working hard to reach families and special needs individuals who need encouragement to travel. Your website it truly an amazing resource that I will be sharing with others!