If you are a parent with a child diagnosed with autism, you may be concerned as, how to travel with your child. There are many resources and recommendations available from parents who have dealt with those experiences, and therapists who have helped autistic children adjust to traveling.
If your child has been diagnosed with autism, that does not give one a reason, one must be withdrawn to your home and be isolated. Go out an experience the world just as you normally would. In addition, this is healthy for your child to be aware that there are new surroundings to experience. Children with autism, usually have an extreme need to feel safe in their own surroundings, where they are most comfortable in familiar locations.
Familiarity, which is easy to associate with, should not keep you at home, because you can make new places seem as familiar for your child, also. If your child feels comfortable in his or her own bed, it may be an excellent idea to bring their sheets, pillows, blankets, a special toy, that they are familiar with, when traveling out of town. One child featured in an article by CNN chooses to carry a wooden spatula wherever he goes. This is something that makes him feel safe and familiar, and allows him to slowly adjust to new environments with something that makes him feel comfortable and safe.
It is also imperative, to stay to your regular routine while traveling. If you wake at odd hours, go to bed, and have the child take naps at specific times, try to keep that same schedule while traveling. If you listen to specific music while driving in the car, or play visual games, you may want to do the same thing while riding on a train or in a taxi. It is important for your child to feel as comfortable as possible, that will help you and your child to accomplish the trip with less struggle, and it will avoid unwanted stress.
Remember, traveling with a child with autism is nothing new. Airlines, hotel chains, and restaurants are adapted to understanding autistic children, and other children, who may have severe disorders or special needs. Informing the places you are traveling, will allow them to be prepared for the needs of your child. As a parent, or guardian, it is wise, to prepare your child for a trip prior to leaving. You can create stories to tell the child in advance of where you are going, who you will see, and the activities you plan to do. You might want to draw pictures with them that will help explain the process. If they are familiar with what is going on, they will be less edgy regarding the change in routine. Let them know the weather conditions, rain, snow, hot, cold, sunny and warm, that will help to associate with the clothes they may want or have to wear, which may be different from where they are from or their original home.
If you follow these guidelines, it is important to keep your limitations in mind of your child. If you know flying will be an issue, it might be preferable to drive to the location you are going. The child will at least be familiar with the car environment. Try to limit the shocking things the child will experience, to things that you know he or she will be comfortable with. Patience is the key factor in how to travel with an autistic child. Make it fun and joyful.
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