Tips for Traveling with Special Needs Kids

Traveling with a special needs child can have its moments. For some special needs kids, traveling is traumatic. Leaving home and going somewhere unfamiliar can be difficult. Many special needs kids are the most comfortable when they have a daily routine to follow. Traveling often upsets that routine. For some parents that means a child that pitches fits and for others that means a child that won’t stop crying.

Remove some of the stress by taking along many familiar items for your child. Line his car seat with his favorite bed sheets, bring along his own pillow and blanket for overnight stays, and be sure to take several of his favorite toys or books.

Keeping the traveling experience as familiar as possible will make it easier for your special needs child to adapt. If your child loves to draw, take along pad, markers and crayons. Or better yet, an etch-a-sketch if your child is advanced enough to operate it. If your child has a favorite music cd grin and bear it. Let the child listen to his music as much as you can stand or let him use earphones if he’s able.

It’s not all about familiar things in the vehicle. Stopping at fast-food restaurants or stores that are recognized by your child will give him a little more comfort. Offering your child a snack just like they usually have at home, such as ice cream, will help him to stay calm as well.

Some kids aren’t bothered by the change of surroundings but are more disturbed by staying inside of the vehicle for long periods of time. If this sounds familiar, allow extra time to get where you’re going and stop frequently to take the child out of the car, even for just a few minutes.

If your particular child is bothered by changes in scenery or locations, bring along quilts and pillows from home for motel stays. Even simple things, such as throw pillows, can lend a touch of home to otherwise unfamiliar surroundings.

You know your child better than anyone else does. Don’t subject him to visiting a wild animal park if you know animals scare him. Plan certain things especially for your child, like stopping at a park along the way and letting him swing and slide.

Make an effort to continue the child on his normal schedule. Don’t allow for sleeping in and staying up late since this will cause problems when you arrive back home and expect him to go back to his usual routine.

If you’ve attempted past vacations with you child and they were not successful you may want to consider going without him. Many cities have a respite program that will tend to your child in your absence. The child is fed, bathed and entertained at a center with other children for two weeks or longer, depending upon the facilities program.

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