In this post, we are going to discuss various measures that can be very useful when you are traveling with an autistic child.
Due to the erratic behavior and mood swings of a child with this kind of disorder it could be a big challenge for you to take any child affected by ASD to a long or short journey so the points we will be discussing here will help you to prepare yourself to ensure a peaceful and convenient journey for you as well as the child.
Kids with ASD are known for their obsession for daily routines and fixed schedule, they are very uncomfortable with any kind of change in life so it becomes essential for you to provide them with appropriate convenience in a new environment.
1 – Deciding the Destination
Whenever you are about to visit a known or unknown place, you usually plan a lot of things before beginning your trip. What is most important when you are traveling with an Autistic kid is that you should include them and their needs as the first priority in your plan.
Keep in mind the activities which they prefer and their comfort before you decide the journey. Make an effort that they have all the things while traveling which are a part of their daily needs.
2 – Pack the Right Gear
What you might enjoy on a trip can be unpleasant for an Autistic kid, considering their sensory issues. New sights, sounds, and temperature can put any such kid into a bad state of mind.
By planning according to your child’s preferences you must take complete care of engaging them in their loved activities. This particular factor also requires you to keep certain gears in your baggage like an earplug, weighted blanket, their favorite toys, sunglasses etc.
3 – Money Management
When you decide to go on a vacation or trip, you spend a lot of money on unexpected things but always remember that when you are with kids you will have to manage in a way that they stay happy and satisfied otherwise your whole trip can turn out to be one of the worst experiences of your life.
At your home, you can be strict in spending money on your kid’s irrelevant wishes but when you are traveling with an Autistic kid it is very wise to spend without thinking twice on what they want.
4 – Prepare Beforehand
Before you go on a long trip, take a few baby steps. It is obvious that one day you will have to take your kid for a long vacation, so it is best advised that you prepare yourself as well as your kid by going on short trips now and then.
By doing this you will get a clear idea of how the child behaves when they are in a new environment. Make a note of all their behavioral changes when they are traveling to a new place. This way you will also get to know what to do when things get out of control.
5 – Mentally Prepare Your Child for a Journey
If you have a proper connection with your child and they listen to you then it is a big advantage for you before going on a journey because this will enable you to make them imagine the future situations by talking to them about the journey.
By telling them all the aspects as well as possible situations that you will have to deal with while traveling, you can make their mind very much prepared for unfamiliar conditions.
Going on a demo trip can also be very useful, you can also pretend to travel and visit airports and other places to explain it better to them.
6 – Food Choice
Gluten free low carbohydrate food (as we discussed in our post on “3 essential resources for Autistic kids“) is believed to be healthy for an Autistic child. But only you can know what any particular child prefers to eat and also the time at which they have their food by observing their daily life.
As we have already mentioned, children affected by ASD are obsessed with familiar things and specific routine. So it becomes your responsibility that their favorite food will be available during the journey at the right time.
For this, you can preplan your journey by contacting the airlines and hotels which you will be visiting. You can also pack some homemade food for the emergency.
7 – Avoid Crowd and Queues
Autism makes a child afraid and scared of the crowd due to their unwillingness to meet unfamiliar people. It would be wise that you plan your trip accordingly that any such conditions could be avoided.
A letter from the child’s doctor about their condition can help you to avoid queues and long lines in various public places. If you are traveling by flight, then you can reach to the airport before time in order to demand an early boarding by using this letter which will avoid the situation where you will have to deal with the child’s reaction to the boarding queue.
8 – Prepare Them for the Lingo
Due to the sensory issues especially the one that is related to sounds, an environment with change in the pattern of sounds could be very much disturbing for an Autistic kid.
So if the place that you are visiting has a change in language and culture than we advise you to prepare your kid for such a change. You can do this by listening to music and songs of their language in front of the kid and use various ways to make them familiar with the new culture for some days before traveling.
9 – Plan with Fewer Breaks
Often when we plan long journeys, we prefer to take a lot of short breaks now and then. You might have thought that this might be a good idea while traveling with an Autistic child but it is not.
It takes time for an Autistic kid to adjust to any change in plan so they would rather be more comfortable to travel by staying in the same place than getting out or stopping for short breaks.
Hence plan your trip with as much less break as possible and also take care that the child’s environment does not change frequently.
So, these were some tips that might be useful if you are planning a trip with an autistic kid. We also recommend you to read our post on “Best toys for autistic kids“.
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