Posted on: 12 July 2017
Now that summer is here, it's time to plan for your family vacation. That can be difficult when your child is autistic. Children with autism can find unfamiliar situations unbearable, which means vacations may require additional planning. Don't pass on a family vacation. Instead, use the methods described below to help prepare your child for the trip.
Talk to Your Child About the Vacation
When it comes to a family vacation, it's important that you talk to your child about everything you're planning. Let your child know what you have planned for each day of your vacation, including places you'll be visiting, and people you'll be seeing. If your child is non-verbal, try providing pictures to reinforce the things your talking to them about. For instance, if you're going to be introducing your child to family members they've never met before, display pictures of those family members. This will give your child the opportunity to familiarize themselves with the people they'll be meeting.
Introduce Your Child to New Clothing
If you're going to be traveling to a different climate, where you'll be wearing different types of clothing, you should introduce those changes to your child in advance. For instance, if your child isn't used to wearing jackets, but the weather where you're going requires jackets in the evening, give them the opportunity to wear one in advance. This will prevent meltdowns when your child is forced to wear a jacket to keep warm.
Plan for Mealtimes
If your child has specific foods that they'll eat, don't forget to plan for mealtime. This is particularly important if some of your child's favorite foods are region-specific. When packing for vacation, be sure to include a generous supply of your child's comfort foods. If you're going to be spending time with family, send a list of foods that your child will eat, as well as foods that your child will avoid. This will help prevent mealtime meltdowns.
Consider Sensory Issues
If you're going to be taking alternate forms of transportation for your vacation, it's important that you consider sensory issues, such as unusual sounds, bright lights, or smells.
If loud noises set your child off, include a pair of headphones in your gear. The headphones will block out the loud noises, while providing them with soothing music to listen to.
If bright lights cause distress for your child, be sure to bring a pair of sunglasses for them to wear. It's also important to note that if your child can't sleep with the lights on, you should bring a sleep mask for them to wear if you're going to be traveling overnight.
If your child has an aversion to certain smells, create an aroma-therapy cloth. Place a few drops of essential oils on a soft blanket, and offer it to your child when they encounter aromas that set them off.
If your child is on the spectrum, use the tips provided here to prepare for your first family vacation. Contact a compnay that specializes in autism, like Autism Supplies and Training, for more help.Share