Planning Vacations for Autism

We just returned from a brief but enjoyable vacation to Boulder, Colorado. As new business owners, it was hard to shut down our business for a few days to do this, but we also recognized that our family needed a few days to unwind with each other.
This isn’t our first vacation since Noland was diagnosed with autism and it won’t be our last. Here are a few things we do to help our vacations go smoothly:

  • Make sure you discuss with your significant other who is going to pack the medications. We miscommunicated on this trip and realized when we landed in Colorado that Noland’s medications were still at home. One medication requires a physical prescription. We were fortunate our doctor was on call that weekend and worked something out with the local pharmacist to get the meds we needed. Thank goodness! Even Noland was worried. “What if I get silly Mom?”
  • Make sure you pack the coveted electronics and plenty of chargers! This includes car chargers too! Last year, we had more fights between the kids over who got to use the car charger first. It was a nightmare. This year, we came better prepared. If you have a portable battery, pack that too! It can save you if you aren’t close to an electrical outlet and need to charge something! Another good idea I read recently is to pack a power strip to use in a hotel to charge everything in one place.
  •  If you are flying an airline without reserved seats, board when they call for families with young children. Although my kids aren’t young enough anymore to be part of this special boarding group, we do it anyway to ensure Noland gets to sit next to one of us. If the gate agent says anything, then you can bring up special needs. We haven’t had any problems doing this.
  •  We have Noland pack his own backpack with items he thinks he will need on the trip. This could be books, Ziploc bag of legos / building blocks, thinking putty, etc. We also ensure he brings his stuffed animal for falling asleep.
  • If your kids are anything like ours, we choose our hotel based on their pool! After a day of sensory overload, going to the pool helps Noland get his wiggles out. Pack two swimsuits per kid so they don’t have to put on a cold, wet swimsuit the next trip to the pool.
  •  Bring snacks! Everywhere! When Noland gets hungry, he is HUNGRY! There is no “we will be able to get something in 15 minutes”. He must have food NOW! So, we always ensure to have snacks shoved in my “mom” purse and a bottle of water.
  •  Once Noland gets back to the hotel for the day – whether it be after lunch or after dinner – he is done. There is no more getting back out. So, we have learned to plan most activities for the morning / early afternoon and we enjoy lunch as our big meal of the day. If he wants to go back out in the evening, great. If not, we did the things we wanted to do most.
  •  Transitions are hard for Noland. We try to let him know the night before what our plans are for the next day so he is prepared. If plans change, we try to let him know as soon as possible so he has time to adjust.
  • We remind ourselves and Sophie that Noland isn’t being whiny or misbehaving because he is a “brat”. He is off his routine, in a different place and doing different things. This is really hard for him. And yes, we sometimes have to adjust our plans to accommodate his needs. But, he also has to put up with Sophie shopping!

If you aren’t going on a vacation this summer or have bored kids, We Rock the Spectrum in Fenton offers summer camps for all kids of all abilities! It will give you a much needed break and your child will benefit from our inclusiveness and opportunities for social interactions as they play alongside kids of all abilities. And if your child needs one-to-one care while attending summer camp, we will work with you to secure that care for your child.

We also offer flexible scheduling as we take reservations by session – not by day or week. We have morning sessions from 9am to 12pm and afternoon sessions from 12pm to 3pm. There will be unstructured play in our sensory gym, games, arts & crafts and a healthy snack. Call us now at 636-529-8282 to reserve your child a spot!

The communications made through this blog should not be construed as the opinions or beliefs of the We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym franchise. The individual owner of this gym possesses all opinions and beliefs expressed in this blog. This blog is made available by the individual gym owner for educational purposes only, as well as to offer general information and a general understanding of autism and related disorders and the services provided by We Rock the Spectrum Kid’s Gym.