Traveling is an inevitable aspect of the average human life. We all need to travel from time to time for a vacation or with for some vocation. Travel brings in a new excitement as it breaks monotony, lets us soak in a new culture and also makes us better beings with new experiences.
As far as children are concerned traveling has a positive impact on their inquisitive minds. It feeds their imaginations and develops their personality.
BUT!!! Getting from point A to point B with kids is such a daunting task that the most prepared and calm parent can become frustrated and lose their sanity. Kids with special needs amplify these challenges but a special need kid also has special parents who can tackle these challenges like a pro.
Here are 7 pointers which will make traveling with special need kids a little more comfortable:
1) Prepare, prepare and then prepare some more. First and foremost choose locations which are kid-friendly and nearby to your house. It is convenient and will also help you understand your kid’s negative and positive triggers. And if things get out of hand you can easily go back home.
2) Take their favorite toys, coloring books, items which instantly pacify them. This will distract them and keep them busy for a long time. Kids become agitated in an enclosed space hence keeping their minds engaged will also give you peace of mind.
3) Sure awareness about special needs has generated quite a lot of understanding and sympathy among fellow passengers but still everyone has different levels of patience and tolerance. To counter this one can take late night trips so that majority of travel can pass away in sleeping.
4) Involve your child in planning the entire holiday; from choosing the destination to what activities or places will be included. If you treat the children like adults and value their opinion, it’s highly likely that they would also make an effort to make the holiday a success.
5) Take along home-made food to give children a sense of home and comfort. Outside meals may not always suit small children. Chew toys, fruits, hard candy all should be carried to comfort kids as hunger leads to extreme mood swings. In case of extreme discomfort kids can be given pediatrician approved medication only.
6) If possible enquire with your airline about mock boarding to familiarize the kids with the entire process. Web check in, priority boarding all helps in making the entire process hassle free.
A few airports that Offer “Rehearsal Programs” for kids with Autism
Boston Logan International Airport
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
Philadelphia International Airport
Minneapolis – St. Paul International Airport
New York: JFK International Airport
7) Special need kids have problems articulating their feelings. Being their parents you have to be compassionate and understand their feelings. They’re not testing your patience; they’re just in discomfort and want you to comfort them because you’re the only one who can do that. Try to have another adult accompany you to better handle any situation.
Keep an open mind and don’t stress much. Try to enjoy as much as possible and make beautiful memories. There will be difficult times but the good times will make it all worth it.