If your child has autism spectrum disorder, traveling might be more difficult than usual. Kids with autism thrive on their schedule and traveling pretty much throws that schedule upside down. There are new places, new experiences, crowded areas, and changes in routine. This can cause stress for anyone, but even more so for the child with ASD.
Let’s take a look at how to travel with a child with ASD:
Make arrangements in advance – This is true for any type of traveling but it’s going to be even more important when you travel with a child with ASD. You need to know where you are going, where you are staying, when you will arrive, etc. The more details you have planned in advance, the less you have to worry about on the way. This also means you can help prepare your child. You can show your child the hotel you will be staying in, for example.
Choose your destination with your child in mind – You should choose a place that your child can get excited about. Amusement parks? Museums? What is your ASD child into? When you plan a trip around this, it keeps the focus on the fun things you’re going to see and do and less on the things that might be stressful along the way.
Bring proper identification – You should always have the safety of your child in mind but traveling away from home makes this even more important. Not only will you want to have proper ID for your child, you might also need to bring certain medical records along, medical ID tags, or other documents that show who your child is and what his medical conditions are, should anything happen along the way.
Pack some distractions – If there are certain things that help calm your child such as her favorite stuffed animal, a blanket, or an iPad, then bring these along. These are considered essentials and it will be important to help your child feel more comfortable in new situations. Sometimes they can also serve as distractions if there is something triggering a meltdown in your child.
With these tips, you can help make the traveling experience easier on your child with autism, as well as the rest of the family. You shouldn’t feel like you cannot travel or enjoy new places with your child with ASD. It’s actually a good experience for your child to have. It just takes a little planning at the start to help ensure everything goes well.