My Tips for Vacationing With Kids With Autism
This blog post is from Amy Schinner. Amy and her husband Steve have 2 kids. Ben is on the spectrum, and a freshman at the University of Cincinnati, and their daughter Meg is a senior in high school. Amy is a walk chair at the Autism Speaks Cincinnati Walk and recently wrote a book titled, "Mouse Ears for Everyone: A Guide to Disney World for Guests with Special Needs."
Preparing is the most important part of the trip! In our home we use the term “front-loading” We make sure Ben knows as much as possible about what will happen on the vacation. One easy way to front-load is to view You tube videos of where you are going. National Parks, beaches, museums and every ride at Disney has a you tube video or website that gives a good feel of the place. TIP- view the videos first, sometimes there is offensive language if a video is produced by a kid and not the company itself.
Vacation Boot Camp! Many vacations require walking, eating out and being in public. I suggest walking around the neighborhood (in the shoes you will take on vacation), going out to eat sometimes, maybe even going on outings like the mall, museums or anyplace that isn’t typically on the schedule. This helps prep a little more for the immersion into a new schedule during vacation.
Remember that the moment you leave the house you are on vacation- getting there and either flying or a road trip are part of the adventure! Be prepared with headphones, fully charged iPads, back up chargers, surprises like a new coloring book, video or music, and create a relaxing time. This will help set a fun atmosphere for the vacation! Above all else- remember, this is a vacation for your family. Do what feels right for you. Nobody can do it all, the objective is to relax and enjoy each other as a family!!