Planning a Holiday Vacation with a Child on the Spectrum

Are you having second thoughts about planning a vacation? Do you wonder if your child will have everything they need from activities or meals to safety? How about concerns about overstimulation with lighting, sounds or textures? Parents, I have wonderful news for you! There are places you can visit now that have tailored their services to those on the spectrum. From airlines to hotels to theme parks, a destigmatized environment of fun exists and is waiting for your family to enjoy!

Here is where you start. First, look for travel agents that are Certified Autism Travel Professionals. They will be able to provide you with options on where to go depending on where you are traveling to. Now, if you are more of a “I’ll do it myself” type of person, look for resorts and restaurants that are certified by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) or are a Certified Autism Center (CAC). Airlines such as JetBlue, Etihad, Alaska Air and All Nippon Airways are great about allowing your family board first if your child is claustrophobic or does not do well with crowds. Each offer a unique service from providing a nanny to tablets to a variety of foods for those who have special diets. What is even more exciting is that some airports actually have special programs where families practice going through the airport, checking bags, waiting in line and boarding before the real flight. For more information on these programs visit https://www.thearc.org/wingsforautism. Wait. There is more! Just to name a few, theme parks such as Sesame Place, LEGOLAND, and Thomas Land provide options such as quiet rooms with adjustable lighting, weighted blankets, noise-cancelling headphones, sensory guides and sensory friendly bathrooms. Ready to plan your dream vacation?

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