The summer season is in full swing and most families have made plans for summer vacations, summer travels and adventures! Summer is a time of excitement and fun memories, but it can be a bit stressful, too. Traveling with a child on the spectrum can come with some unique challenges due to changes in routine, various levels of stimulation and unfamiliar places.
For me, I have my own unique proclivities with my son Jaden and his fascination with tsunamis. He knows the dates, locations and size impact of tsunamis all over the world. If we plan a trip at a location that has had a tsunami, it may raise his anxieties around the trip ahead of us. So, understanding triggers are super important when planning vacations.
For some families impacted by ASD, these types of unique sensitivities around travel can hinder their ability to organize family travel. However, summer travel is possible and here are some things to consider while traveling, “On the Spectrum.”
Sometimes, it’s best to prepare with practice. Traveling to an unfamiliar place can mean unfamiliar foods, sights and sounds. You can start by having a night where you introduce something similar pertaining to your place of travel. It may help to offer an incentive or reward to your child as a form of encouragement.
You might also experience anxiety from your child due to schedule changes. Their daily routine is important to them so you could create a social story that includes what type of activities may happen during your travel. See our article on Kookabuk for more help with this. Make it a fun family time!
If you’re boarding planes, there may be crowds of people which can produce over stimulation for your child. Noise, smells, people bumping into each other are out of our control and can be uncomfortable for any individual with ASD. Prepare to have an “out” if you see your child struggling.
These are just a few things for you to consider as you prepare for your summer vacation.