We have put together a list of 3 helpful tips for traveling with special needs children. Traveling has become more and more difficult over the years, but it is something we just have to do from time to time. We like taking trips to visit out of state family members, or just to get away from the day to day grind that we face. Some may even dread making travel plans and some may actual enjoy them (if that’s you, take a quick bow, because I applaud you). When you are making plans for a trip, whether your are flying, going by train, boat or car, you will need to plan ahead to insure that your travel needs are met, and the earlier you start, the better off you all will be.
3 helpful tips for traveling with special needs children:
1. Every child is special and unique. Some kids and their families will encounter extra challenges while traveling due to the nature of their unique qualities. Even among kids with special needs, there is too much beautiful variety to suggest a one-size-fits-all travel plan. You know your child and what works for them, or are at least figuring it out little by little. My husband and I are foster parents to 8 amazing children with significant special needs, and we are just happy if we know more this month than we did last month. It’s a lot of trial and error, but even if I find something that works for one child, more than likely it doesn’t work as well for another, even another child with the same diagnosis. So I really only have one universal tip for traveling with children with special needs. It’s free. It’s simple. It’s effective. It’s certainly not ground-breaking, but something we as parents need to be encouraged in. So here you go: Advocate. Never be too timid or embarrassed to advocate for your child’s needs. You don’t have to be rude about it, but you are the one who can speak up for your child when they can’t speak up for themselves. Call the airline, the hotel, the tour company, whoever you need to, to make arrangements IN ADVANCE. It’s much harder for them to accommodate you if they are caught by surprise, so the sooner you speak up, the better. When you advocate for your child with assertive sincerity, you will usually be met with understanding and helpfulness. — Tip courtesy of Sheila Chery – If This Life I Lose
2. Children respond to crowds and noise, among other daily stressors and traveling may heighten those so make sure you pack everything you think your child might want and/or need during their traveling journey. If your child is sensitive to noise, these noise canceling headphones by Golzer are a must-have! You might want to include and extra bag with a change of clothing, a sensory bag or a fidget toy like the Tangle Jr. or the Tangle Relax, or their favorite toy, soft blanket, stuffed animal or any other calming item that soothes them. By being prepared with items that your child is familiar with, it will act as a great aid for kids who are or may be anxious travelers.
3. Prepare your child in advance for their upcoming travel experience. You can prepare your child by sharing a fun-based story about traveling. If you are traveling by plane, perhaps this My Plane Trip coloring book, or Going on a Plane might be helpful. Your child may have to read (or be read to) several times prior to your trip. You can also prepare your child before the trip by creating a special traveling activity book that is interactive so your child can take part in the whole experience of traveling from start to finish. You can give this Kids Travel Journal or this one, so kids can get excited and be part of the planning process.
Bottom line is this, you know your child better than anyone else. Start planning your trip early on so you don’t forget to include everything you need for a smooth travel experience. What is one of your favorite, helpful tops for traveling with your special needs child?
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3 helpful tips for traveling with special needs children