Autism travel can be an unexpected challenge. Having a family member with special needs can impact a family’s ability to do nearly everything in day-to-day life – eating, sleeping, and going just about anywhere. Travel can magnify these challenges. Whether it is in packing cases of a favorite food item in the car, or pre-arranging strategic airline seats, it can seem like an endless list of tasks.
Whether you are undertaking autism travel or many other types of special needs travel, we’ll look at several travel tips to help you refresh your travel routines, but first an overview.
Autism Travel: How to continue to travel post-diagnosis
Since my son’s diagnosis with autism more than 8 years ago, we have constantly felt the need to think outside the box – for his medical team, his education, and his quality of life, like autism travel. Here are some ways to think outside the box and maintain travel in a special needs family:
Thoughtful family travel
Choose destinations that make sense, travel at times that are less crowded, in weather that is not extreme, and for not too long a
Our family started this three years ago, and I very much encourage your family to try something similar. Each summer, my husband and I alternate a week-long trip abroad with our neurotypical son. He gets the advantage of attention and focus (remember – fair is not equal), and we get the advantage of a smaller bill to foot for such experiences.
Self-care for the parents in a special needs family often falls to the bottom of the list – and when it falls off the list entirely, it can eventually create a lot of negative stress. Finding reliable childcare is often a challenge, one that is magnified by having a special needs child. Use available family members, friends, and/or special needs camps to make these necessary get-aways possible.
A real rarity in our family, but something that I have come to value. This year, I traveled alone to both my Color Street Conference as well as to my college reunion. Both times, the mundane moments of travel were some of the most enjoyable of the experience. Boarding a plane without wrestling multiple bags of on-board necessities (nor needing assistance from TSA Cares). Watching a WHOLE movie on the plane, uninterrupted. And even graciously being reseated and allowing others ahead of me in line – simply because I know how much we appreciate it when needed.
Has your family traveled post-diagnosis? What does it look like?
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