Categorized | Parenting, Parenting Tips

Travel Tips For Toddlers With Autism

Traveling with children is never easy. Traveling with a toddler who has autism can be even more daunting. Here are some tips to make traveling easier for toddlers with autism.

Tip # 1: Choose A Destination Your Toddler Likes

What does your toddler like? Does he like going to amusement parks? Basking in the sun on the beach? Going out of town? Pick a travel destination that is within your toddler’s comfort zone so he can enjoy the activities.

Tip # 2: Plan In Advance

It is very important that you make arrangements ahead of time. Research the destination and the available activities in the area. Get in touch with your chosen airline, hotel as well as restaurants and other tourist spots and inform them that you are traveling with a toddler who has autism. Discuss your toddler’s needs and ask for certain recommendations.

Tip # 3: Prep Your Toddler

Prior to leaving, help your toddler prepare for the vacation. For instance, you can give him a calendar and ask him to check off each day until the scheduled trip. Watch movies and videos and read books about traveling. Look at photos of the location. Talk to him about your upcoming trip. Tell him you will have loads of fun together. You can also practice vacation scenarios. Role play how you will travel, what you will do and who and what he will see. Better yet, help him put together a “travel book” of pictures. Preparation and stimulation will help your toddler transition more smoothly.

Tip # 4: Pack The Essentials

Make a list of the things you need to bring. Aside from the basic essentials (milk, clothes, diapers, etc.), pack one or two loveys such as books, his favorite toys, pillow, blanket, DVDs and a portable DVD player. Do not forget to pack a light snack your little one will enjoy as well. These comfort items will not only help soothe him, but they will also entertain your toddler and give him a sense of familiarity while traveling.

Tip # 5: Keep Your Toddler’s Daily Routine

Traveling can disrupt your toddler’s routine which can make a child with autism feel lost and scared. As much as possible, stick to his daily schedule. Plan for breaks and downtime. For instance, you can spend a few hours at a beach and then head to a theme park or restaurant. Most importantly, stick to your toddler’s bedtime. Sleep is very crucial in preventing meltdowns in autistic children.

Tip # 6: Create A Travel Cocoon

Build a travel cocoon in the car or in your hotel room. You can use pillows and blankets to build one and then attach toys with Velcro to the side of the cocoon. This method gives off a feeling of intimacy which is comforting for toddlers with autism.

Tip # 7: Keep Your Toddler Safe

Bring a childproofing door knob, slip them onto the door so your toddler will not be able to turn the knob and leave your hotel room. Also, make sure your toddler is wearing identification. Pin a small name tag with your contact number and “autism” written on it to his t-shirt or shoelaces or have him keep it in his pocket.

Traveling with a toddler who has autism can be challenging. But with a little planning, practice and preventive measures, you can reduce the amount of stress your toddler and your family experiences while on a trip.

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