Vacation Tips for Parents
Vacation Tips for Parents
Is your family planning a vacation this summer? For parents of children with autism and other developmental delays, there are a few additional factors to consider.
When choosing a vacation destination, keep in mind places that have a variety of activities your child will enjoy. Research the airport, hotel and sightseeing locations you will be visiting. Call ahead to see if any places you will visit have accommodations in place or if they are willing to make special accommodations for you. Include your child as an active partner in the planning and find ways to give him or her choices before and during the vacation. For example, what to pack and which toys to bring.
Before your vacation, take some time to prepare your child for what’s to come. If you are traveling somewhere you have been before, look at pictures from past vacations. If you are traveling to a new locale, look at pictures on the Internet, read books about your destination or make your own social story. Use calendars and schedules to help your child know what to expect. Calendars can be used for counting how many days left until the vacation and during the vacation to show how many more days left until you return home. Daily schedules can be helpful for children that have difficulty transitioning from one activity to another or one place to another.
To make your vacation more enjoyable for everyone, follow these tips:
- Consider safety issues that need to be addressed. What hotel floor are you staying on? Are there balconies? Are the door locks out of reach?
- Think about situations that may be challenging for your child, like long wait times or noisy places, and plan for those.
- Bring headphones, play games or bring favorite toys for waiting.
- When possible, have an exit plan for times you notice your child becoming overwhelmed and use it when you need to.
- Most importantly, try to notice when your child is being successful and doing well!
- Noticing your child doing well can accomplish a couple of things: positive reinforcement increases the odds your child will do those good things again and it focuses our attention, as parents, on the small joys and successes of our kids.
If you’re traveling by plane, keep in mind that major airlines and airports are amenable to the needs of children with autism. Some airports allow families to take a tour ahead of time and some airlines offer priority boarding.TSA has passenger support specialists that work with families to make sure their trip goes as smoothly as possible. Visit www.tsa.gov/travel/passenger-support for more information and be sure to call ahead to let TSA know you are traveling.
Touchstone Applied Behavior Analysis provides research driven applied behavior analysis services. Clients include children and adults diagnosed with autism and individuals with learning and language differences and other behavioral challenges. Touchstone provides services in Thibodaux, Houma, New Orleans, Hammond, Baton Rouge and Lafayette. For more information on Touchstone’s services, call (985) 446-6833, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.touchstoneaba.com. You can also follow Touchstone on Facebook.