Madison, Wisconsin, is a super vacation spot for kids with autism (+ 4 others)

madison-wisconsinWith spring break coming up, you might want to take a look at this great article in Special Parent magazine from a couple years ago that I still reference today. The piece is called “Five Travel Ideas for Families with Kids on the Autism Spectrum,” and I appreciated the way the writer Cindy Richards acknowledges that it’s tough to predict what destination will work for kids on the spectrum — in fact, places that work for kids on one end of the spectrum don’t always work for kids who are on the other end and vice versa.

With that caveat, the author offers five suggestions:

  • Book a condo, house or suite (rather than a small, confining hotel room)
  • Visit during a less chaotic period
  • Look for places that offers special programs for special needs visitors
  • Visit a dude ranch (yes, this is a serious tip, and we love it!)
  • Consider Madison, Wisconsin

Richards goes into detail about each suggestion, and I was especially tickled to read about Madison. Our son’s group home is near Madison, and it’s a great place to go with Gus: vibrant, yet calming at the same time.

The article is spot on when it says, “The capital of Wisconsin has a small town feel, but a plethora of autism-friendly attractions and support programs.” And I’m giving the city of Madison extra points for having the wisdom to have an autism expert on staff. Richards quotes Judy Frankel (public relations manager for the city’s visitor bureau) in the piece, and Frankel has a son with autism.

Have any other suggestions for vacation spots you’ve found to be especially good for kids on the spectrum ? Leave your ideas in the comment section, we love to hear from you, the experts! And here are amusement parks with special needs passes.


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  1. Beth Finke Says:

    You’re right. Madison deserves the recognition!

  2. Madison Says:

    Madison is an absolutely great and beautiful place. I’m glad we’re recognized as a great city for kids with autism!

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