In the midst of the holiday season, we thought it would be appropriate to discuss traveling and provide tips for a successful trip with your child. Traveling can be a hassle for any child, but it may be a bit more challenging for children on the spectrum.
Because traveling is typically out of an autistic child’s comfort zone due to uncertainty and unfamiliarity, it’s important to remember the items that bring your child comfort and entertainment. Packing these items will bring consistency from their normal surroundings. No matter what the mode of travel you and your family choose to take, bringing along a comfort item will help your child feel safer.
Comfort items can range from a stuffed animal, action figure, or a cozy blanket. Items that can bring your child entertainment can range from games, puzzles, an ipad/tablet (remember to pack a charger, headphones, and extra batteries if you plan to bring a device!), or you can even get creative and create sensory toys such as filling up a water bottle with sand and other objects and play “I spy” with it.
Another important aspect of traveling with your child is to get them familiar with the mode of transportation you will be using. You can set expectations by showing your child photos and videos of an airport and airplane for example, so they can see and hear that type of atmosphere and get an idea of what to expect.
Setting expectations of travel and vacation by creating a visual routine can get your child excited for this adventure you’re going to have. Giving them the rundown of what’s going to happen, who will be there, and how you’re getting there will provide your child with certainty and routine. Remember to try and stick to their regular bedtime routine for consistency, and offer praise to your child on how well they’re doing and encourage them to enjoy your trip!