If you live with a child with autism, it is no surprise that traveling with an autistic child requires a plan. You need to prepare for the unusual demands that can materialize when away from home. The team at Positive Synergy offers these tips for traveling with an autistic child.
PREPARE AND PRACTICE
When traveling with a child who experiences autism, be sure to give them an idea of what to expect on the journey. Whether you are traveling by car, by train, or by airplane, you can discuss what the child might encounter during the trek.
You can even practice by visiting the point of departure or taking extended car trips to acclimate your child. If possible, prepare photos of some of the places you will see on your travels. Being able to anticipate what is coming next, with visual prompts, will help your child feel at ease.
BRING THE FAMILIAR
Don’t leave home without your child’s special stuffed animal, security blanket, or other attachment items. Most of us like to travel with our tokens of comfort, and your child is no different. It is vital to provide something to soothe your kiddo if they become over-stimulated during your travels. Keep these familiar items close by during the trip.
CUT OUT ALL THE NOISE POSSIBLE
Traveling is extremely noisy. Airports, train stations, and even the open highway generally create too much stimulation for a child with autism. Noise-canceling headphones are a great option to address this. Employing the aid of tablets and other mobile devices also can make traveling with an autistic child much more relaxed.
PACK THE SNACKS
Preparing your meals and snacks in advance is a great idea when traveling with a child with autism. A full stomach always makes traveling more comfortable. And for children dealing with autism, having familiar foods available is essential. Many children with autism also have a limited range of foods they will eat. So be prepared. Do not rely on being able to find specific foods when you are on the road.
RAMP UP THE SAFETY
Elopement, or wandering off, can be a serious issue when traveling with an autistic child. Unfamiliar surroundings and the stress of being out of their comfort zone can cause children to roam. Consider getting a smartwatch for your child to wear. These devices allow you to keep track of them even if they wander. Be sure your child wears an ID bracelet, such as a medical alert bracelet, with your contact information clearly displayed.
KEEP YOUR ROUTINES AS NORMAL AS YOU CAN
We all thrive with structure and don’t want anything to disrupt it. A child with autism is especially sensitive to a shake-up in their routines. Keep as much normalcy in place as possible, especially around eating and sleeping. It can make all the difference in how well the trip goes and is worth the extra effort.
ABA HELPS WHEN TRAVELING WITH AN AUTISTIC CHILD
The ABA experts at Positive Synergy can help you and your child prepare for any changes you have coming up. From travel to holiday schedules, we have the tools to help your family be ready for success.