8 Ways to Survive (along with Maybe Even Enjoy) A Family Holiday which has a Child With Autism
- March 10, 2017
- Posted by: marlenedubois
- Category: CPR Training
Work has become tedious. The walls of your home seem to be closing in. You NEED a vacation. yet the thought of traveling with your children, especially your child with autism, is usually less than enticing.
Families need vacations: time to escape the regular chores, schedules along with routines of home along with family. Holidays mean a chance to break away through routine, a change of pace, fresh setting, food, people along with activities; not exactly autism friendly! Traveling with children is usually always more challenging, yet planning a vacation which has a child with autism can seem downright daunting.
There are ways to alleviate some of the stress along with create a getaway in which is usually enjoyable for every member of the family. Some simple guidelines along with smart planning will make a big difference!
1. Start tiny
Children with autism do best with tiny steps. If your child has never had time away through home in which is usually wise to take a “mini vacation” for a few hours, build up to a whole day along with soon after in which a night away. The more familiar a child is usually which has a fresh activity the less anxiety they will experience. A few hours spent in an activity close to home in which is usually similar to what you plan to do on vacation, will be worth the time along with energy. You may choose to visit a local beach, shop, sight – see in your town or spend some time on a boat. The closer the “mini holiday” matches the real thing, the better.
2. Take time to preview
Our anxiety levels typically increase when we have no clue what to expect about an upcoming event. Many people have a difficult time with the “unknown.” This particular is usually particularly true of kids with autism! As adults, we may choose to browse a travel guide, read rating scales along with look at photo galleries of places where we plan to visit in order to preview where we are going along with what we can expect. Our children who live with autism will benefit through these activities as well. Browse the Internet, peruse travel brochures along with maybe even visit a bookstore along with/or library to allow your child to read about a specific place in which you plan to visit. There are numerous books about traveling on an airplane, visiting grandparents, ocean life or life in big cities. Whatever you decide to do with your family, reading about in which is usually an awesome way to acquaint your children with the idea.
3. Pack a map
Individuals with autism gain a sense of calm through predictability along with familiarity. When planning a trip, highlight the route on a map along with if you know where you plan to stop, mark those spots on the map. Maps are often appealing to children with autism along with they provide a visual tool in which the child can hold along with manipulate as they travel. For children in which can read you may consider providing a list of some of the towns or cities through which you will travel. Children can check them off as they go or just use them as a reference when they want to know, where they are. Maps along with trip itineraries are useful tools to reduce anxiety because they provide a tangible reference point along with predictability. Route modifications can also be made quickly on the map or just written on a piece of paper.
4. Pack a calendar with Velcro
Not knowing how days will be filled along with what will happen next is usually unnerving for individuals who live with autism (along with for many non autistic people)! Many of us rely on electronic gadgets or day planners to keep us feeling directed, calm along with in control. When planning your family trip, bring along a calendar or a day planner of some sort. Attach a strip of Velcro on each day of the trip along with bring along pictures of activities or places.
Photographs, brochure cut outs, or homemade pictures will work. If the child is usually able to read, then writing on the calendar may be just as useful. By attaching events along with activities to specific days we give our children the opportunity to see what is usually coming along with to organize the time in their minds. The Velcro gives us the flexibility of changing plans if necessary. in which also demonstrates to our kids in which events are not always fixed; plans change. The key is usually to teach the child to refer to the calendar when they are feeling uneasy. Reward them when they do so. The alternative is usually to listen to a constant barrage of questions.
5. Plan time fairly
Each person needs to know in which their needs will be met. Children with autism need time away through the hustle of holidays. Holidays by nature, tend to be very social, unpredictable along with novel. If we want to set up the experience to be enjoyable we need to try to create “downtime” for the child with autism. This particular may mean allowing in which child to participate in a favorite activity for a portion of time; whatever activity the child truly enjoys doing in which helps him to unwind. in which may mean in which the child spins, jumps, twirls a sensory toy or just sits in a chair.
Watching the history channel while the family is usually down at the beach may be just what the teen with autism needs. The activity is usually driven by the child along with NOT the parent. Using a timer or visual clock helps to set parameters around the activity. Using cell phones or Walkie Talkies allow parents along with kids to communicate when they are not in direct contact.
6. Avoid over planning
Choose a few favorite activities rather than trying to cram everything into the day. A trip to Disneyland can be a sensory nightmare for a child with autism. Limiting the amount of activity in which is usually done in a day will go a long way to producing the trip more pleasant for the whole family. Do you genuinely have to visit all of the theme parks? is usually in which necessary to shop in every mall? Must you participate in all of the resort activities? Your child with autism may not be capable of managing the sensory, emotional along with social stimulation in which more typical children are able to cope with.
7 Plan for unstructured time
Children with autism may not be able to entertain themselves along with parents shouldn’t have to be entertainment directors. Some simple tools will make unstructured times like travel time along with waiting for flights much more bearable. Start which has a written or picture menu of all of the available items to play with. Be sure to show only the choices in which ARE available! Fidget toys, digital toys, magnetic travel games, iPods, handheld games, a whiteboard with markers along with magnetic puzzles are invaluable when down time is usually non negotiable. “Wait cards” along with “Unavailable cards” are invaluable when we need to let a child know in which an activity or item is usually either delayed or not available. These cards must be part of the child’s daily life before the vacation to ensure in which they are tolerable for the child during the holiday.
8. Don’t leave home without the Visuals
Visual supports are an absolute necessity when traveling with children in which have autism…even if you are away through home for a day! Pictures, calendars, maps, brochures, photos along with short scripts provide individuals with autism a priceless gift of predictability along with order. Holidays can be filled with distractions, modifications of plans, fresh events along with unknown people. Sensory stimulation, emotions along with expectations are on overload along with the potential for meltdowns is usually high. Visual supports can act as an anxiety reducer along which has a welcome relief. A social script can be quickly written on paper or a whiteboard before the child is usually anticipated to participate in an unfamiliar social situation.
For example, the rules of hanging out on the beach could be written as a social script along with reviewed each time a child goes to the beach:
People like to play on the beach along with some people like to lie down on the beach.
We are careful not to kick sand on people when we walk within the sand.
We can lay our towels next to each various other within the family.
We can lay our towels 1 or 2 big steps away through someone in which we do not know.
When we lift our towels we are careful not to shake sand on various other people.
The beach is usually fun.
The most important item to make sure you bring along on a vacation is usually the expectation to enjoy in which. Our thoughts control much of what we experience so in which is usually worthwhile to affirm in your own mind in which This particular time away will be fun. Remind yourself to genuinely watch your children as they experience fresh things; smile, breathe deeply along with laugh often. When plans don’t quite work remind yourself in which “in which is usually what in which is usually” along with your reaction to a situation is usually genuinely what determines the outcome. Choose to be cheerful along with positive along with your mood will likely rub off on the rest of your family.
Plopping your children in a car, driving for six hours along with telling them to stop whining will not likely result in a great vacation! Planning ahead will play a huge role in creating a holiday in which is usually fun filled. There are little things in which we take for granted about traveling in which we must be aware of to ensure in which we can create a great vacation. You need in which. Your family needs in which. Go ahead along with have fun!