Family Vacation: How To Support Your Child With Sensory Differences
Family vacations should be a relaxing and fun time for the whole family. If you have a child with autism or one with sensory issues, you need to be sure it will be enjoyable for them as well. That may take some extra planning. Here are some tips for a family vacation and how to support your child with sensory differences.
Of course you must plan ahead for any vacation trip, but if you have a child with sensory differences, this is extra important. If you are going to meet up with friends or relatives not familiar with your child and his or her sensory issues, explain what to expect and maybe some ways to help them adjust.
If your child has a sensory processing disorder, this means they can be overly sensitive to what they see, hear, smell, taste, or touch. Scratchy clothing, bright lights, loud noises, crowds, and food textures can all upset a child with sensory issues. However, they can react in the opposite way, and it takes extra stimuli to affect them.
You, of course, know all of this, but even loving relatives can become frustrated or angry with a child who overreacts to normal things.
Prepare An Itinerary
This is a great way to prepare your child for their trip. Show them a daily schedule: will they be traveling on a given day, where will they be staying each day, activities you will be doing. How you will be traveling is important too, especially if they will be flying for the first time.
Find some pictures of the area, the hotel, or resort and the available activities, anything that can help them visualize what is coming. You or they can paste them into their very own vacation travel book. Then they can mark each day or activity with a check, check +, or check – or other way of describing their level of enjoyment.
Set up a travel kit for your child and allow them to add things of their choice.
Other Ways To Prepare For An Enjoyable Trip
- Find out where the quiet spaces are located at each place you go to
- Go someplace with water: pools, lakes, or beach
- Be sure you will have Wi-Fi access
- Teach children to recognize employee badges in case you get separated
- Some resorts cater to children with special needs, such as Disney and Beaches resorts for example
- Follow normal at-home routines like keeping the same bedtime and when to get up
- Bring familiar toiletries if that will make your child more comfortable with the surroundings
Don’t forego vacations because of sensory differences. There are lots of ways to support your child and keep your vacation fun for everyone.