Traveling with autism –avoiding the road blocks

Our family went on some pretty great vacations with Gus when he was little. Other vacations, not so great. Take the time we drove 150 miles to go to a Prince concert. We all loved the concert, but Gus was so stimulated by the music that he couldn’t settle down afterwards in our hotel room. Gus screamed. And screamed. And screamed. The front desk called. Neighboring rooms were complaining. One caller worried that a child was being abused in our room. It was miserable. With all the wonderful vacations we took with Gus — week-long trips to the ocean, a flight to Germany to visit my sister and her family (a niece came along to help us with Gus) — the one that sticks out in my mind is that miserable overnight after Prince.

With Thanksgiving on the horizon, I know a lot of families are gearing up for a road trip. So I was happy to dig up this article from the travel section of the New York Times highlighting tours and travel agencies catering to the needs of families with autism.

While most people look forward to a vacation with its new vistas, surroundings, food and routines, many families traveling with children with autism face a daunting task of providing some well-established routines to help their child feel secure. Long lines, masses of travelers, new schedules for eating and sleeping can throw off their child and make the trip less than relaxing.

The article chronicles families on trips where the destinations have made accommodations for children with autism. It also points out that Americans with all sorts of disabilities are vacationing in record numbers.

Yet for every parent who decides they’re better off staying at home with a child who might have a meltdown if someone accidentally brushes against him at a hotel breakfast buffet, there are others who are determined to hit the road, particularly if there are nonautistic siblings in the equation.

Congrats to the resorts and hotels who are wise enough to go out of their way to educate themselves and their staff about autism. Goodness knows our families need a restful vacation trip as much — or more — as any other family does!


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