For any mom, trying to coordinate family vacations can be stressful. For those of us who are trying to coordinate a vacation that includes our neuro-typical children as well as our special needs’ child, (not to mention our spouses and older parents with disabilities) that task can be overwhelming.

The National Autism Network, has provided these tips to make a vacation a little more manageable:

1. Be Prepared!
Call ahead to the place you are staying and check for any special accommodations they make for children with special needs. If you are attending an amusement park, visiting guest services to inquire about a special needs pass for your child should be the FIRST thing you do. It is also helpful to bring a physician’s note detailing your child’s disorder. Be sure to bring items your child may need, like headphones to drown out large crowd noise or special snacks to accommodate any specific diet needs.

2. Take Sensory Breaks
It may help your child with autism, and your family as a whole, to have built in mid-day breaks to wind down from the morning activities and to gear up for the night’s adventures. Your child may get overwhelmed spending too much time with crowds and loud noises regardless of the coping strategies you implement.

3. Include Every Member of the Family
Remember, this isn’t just your vacation, it belongs to everybody. Provide your family members with a variety of different types of destinations and activities to determine that there is something for everybody.

4. Cruising with Autism
If your family is searching for adventure on the high seas, then look no further than Autism on the Seas. Since 2007, the organization has been dedicated to assisting the cruise industry in providing cruise vacations for individuals and families’ with special needs.

5. Autism in Flight
A growing number of airlines are offering mock airplane simulations that allow for your child to experience what it’s like to visit the airport. Your child can experience every aspect of flight without ever leaving the ground. The TSA has a helpful list of specific information for passengers with special needs. The Smart Fish: Frequent Flyer app offers another way of introducing your child to the airport experience.

About National Autism Network:

National Autism Network was founded with the mission to be the largest online resource for the autism community and provide the most comprehensive information and news related to Autism. The site includes a provider directory, discussion forums, events calendar, social community, hundreds of autism resources and more.

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