Travel tips for your special family with special needs kids.

Vacations make us super excited. But for kids /adults with special needs, it is a huge challenge as; vacation disrupts the routine structure. It also poses the possibilities of the unpredictable crowd, new noises and environment for people with special needs. Vacation is a challenge not only for them but for you as their parents as well. However, with careful planning and information using the resources below, you will have an awesome vacation experience. Yes, working strategically and with planning is crucial for your perfect family trip. Therefore, read on to discover more tips on travel for your kids with special needs. So are you ready to hit the beach?

Preparing your kids beforehand:

Vacation means changes in daily routine; if you are a parent of special needs kids/adults, anticipate new things. I along with many experts suggest you walk your kids through the transportation process. Let them know how you are traveling-whether by air, car or ship. Make use of social stories- Interactive guides/ workbooks to describe social situations and what to expect. Show your children pictures or movies of the locations you will visit. Practice visiting public restrooms. This will be a great travel anxiety buster before the departure day.

The airport rehearsals:

Plane travel can be a nightmare for people with special needs. From airport security to boredom on the flight, can wreak havoc on them. Therefore, I advise you to learn what security screening will look like or if you need to request help. Practice runs with security. Call the Transportation Security Administration’s TSA Cares Helpline, 72 hours before your flight to let them know what to expect. While in the plane go prepared to keep your kids busy. Some parents have tried packing gifts wrapped in tissue paper in each child’s rolling suitcase and had enough for every hour on the plane for each kid.

Hotels:

Before checking into the accommodation you should know if the facilities are equipped for your special needs kids. As per the Americans with Disabilities Act, all public spaces should be accessibility standards-compliant. But for developmental disabilities, it’s a little different. Therefore, call in advance to inquire about accommodation’s safety for your family. You should know if they have quiet rooms for people with sensory issues or one with a balcony door that locks, for those who wander. Requesting a room at the end of the floor helps cut down noise pollution. Shelling extra is worthwhile if you stay in a rental or condo and can prepare your own food. Use of visual support is a great help during your vacations, such as a schedule board with bathroom breaks listed or “First-Then” boards.

Sufficient relaxing time:

Take relaxation time seriously especially bathroom breaks. Place proper breaks to relax in the itineraries to prevent being overwhelmed, especially for those with intellectual impairments.

Seek experts:

There are many specialized travel agencies and organizations in this arena, to assist you in designing vacations and finding resources. While traveling to other countries you may not get the same level of accessibility, so here companies like  ‘Flying Wheels Travel’ arrange accessibility and provide tours to locations around the world for special needs people and for those with chronic illnesses, difficulty walking or those who are confined to a wheelchair. More Travel groups that custom design trip are ‘Ensemble Travel Group‘ and ‘Autism On The Seas’. Traveling with your kids can incredibly be great. Only if you are careful to follow the help-tips and allow your kids to participate in the decision-making you will enjoy more. You will learn the benefits of traveling. So are ready to pack your luggage?

Let’s get going.

Published by Sabrina Thomas

I’m Sabrina Thomas. I’m a Speaker, an Author, Columnist, Parent Coach an Autism & Special Education Advocate. Most importantly, I am the mother to two sons. My youngest son, Omar, has inspired by passion for Autism awareness and Special Education. Omar has Autism, Cerebral Palsy, and an Intellectual Disability. I understand the importance of being a voice for the voiceless, and I feel it is my duty to spread what I’ve learned to those around me. It is my goal to raise awareness together so that we as advocates can change and better the lives of those with special needs both now and moving forward. The most rewarding part of my career stems from being able to give parents, families, and caregivers the power and knowledge they need to be the best possible advocates for those with special needs. I know firsthand how overwhelming life can be, which is why I find joy in speaking about what I’ve learned and sharing my life with others. I am transparent, encouraging, and inclusive in my messages. I believe that as the parent of a child with special needs, it is our responsibility to be a voice for our children when they can’t speak for themselves. However, I also believe in including and empowering our children in the process if they are able to be. Each child has an equal right to learn in whatever that may look like for them as an individual.

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