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Volume 89

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Hi, I’m Craig Kendall, the author of The Asperger’s Syndrome Survival Guide. In today’s issue we will discuss…

Travel Tips for Children with Asperger’s Syndrome

If there is one thing that children with Asperger’s syndrome like, it’s routine and predictability. But traveling shakes up the routine no matter how you look at it. Not only that, but there are the sensory issues that go along with it. Traveling is hard for many on the autism spectrum, from Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man to so many others. Here are some ideas that may help you to think about to make traveling with a child with Asperger’s syndrome easier.

1. Pre-trip Preparation for a Child with Asperger’s Syndrome

If you have a child with Asperger’s syndrome, make sure he or she is well prepared for what is going to happen next. A well prepared child is a much more contented child. Make sure you give your child plenty of notice of the trip (several weeks depending on complexity of trip and age of child). Write a social story book to show your child exactly what you will be doing…this is a great idea for children with Asperger’s syndrome and many parents swear by it. Explain to him or her everything that will be happening – they need a mental map of it.

Have a written…and as detailed as possible…itinerary that they can follow. If they will be flying ensure to emphasize to your child that there can often be delays flying and to be prepared for the unexpected.

If you have pictures of where you are going, whether it’s a family member’s house, Disney Land, or what have you, show them to your child with Asperger’s syndrome several times before you go. Most children with Asperger’s syndrome are very visual. Visual images are very helpful for those on the autism spectrum to plan what happens next.

2. Mental Stimulation for Children with Asperger’s Syndrome

There are few things more important than making sure you have an arsenal of items to keep your child with Asperger’s syndrome during busy during downtime. Kids on the autism spectrum are usually not patient, and unstructured downtime can often cause meltdowns and other problems.

If it’s a long car trip, there are many things you can do. A portable game console of some sort or a portable DVD player is a godsend for most families (these can work in the air as well.) Music, fidget toys like pipe cleaners, and games you can play without any props such as”20 Questions” or word games like Ghost can also work well.

Of course, if you’re in the car, you might as well make the best of the scenery and play the license plate game (who can name the most states) or the ABC game (you have to find every letter of the alphabet in order on either signs or license plates).

Noise blocking headphones are good for the airport and plane, and playing soothing music is all the better. Make sure you take food from home so that you can be assured of your child finding something they like to eat. Relying on overpriced airports or highway rest stops is never a good idea.

3. Other Quick Tips for Making Travel More Pleasant

Remember, preparation is the key to everything. A well thought out trip is a good trip. Follow these tips and you and your child with Asperger’s syndrome or autism will be all set for many years of happy traveling.

14 Responses to Travel Tips for Children with Aspergers Syndrome-89

  1. Kelley says:

    You are helping so many with your desire to share wonderful information with the rest of us! Simple things seem to make all the difference. My child and family have benefitted a great deal from your information! Thank you! Thank you!

  2. Arhlene Sturm says:

    I know the article was addressing travel tips with children…however, last year I needed to take a flight approx. 12-15 hours long with 2 stopovers. My father sent money later for my adult son (20 years) with Asperger’s to also come. Of course, we could not be on the same flight, my flight was booked. I brainstormed with the person booking my son’s flight. We decided to have him meet someone with a wheelchair just when he disembarked, and my son would tell them his name and they would wheel him to the next gate. My son was grateful for the wheelchair which he used at Atlanta and Seattle because he said there was no way he could have figured out how to get to his correct connections. He felt funny using the wheelchair because he looks big and strong enough to walk, but he got over it. My husband also had him phone whenever he got to the correct connection. We safely met up in Honolulu!

  3. Marion Wright, OCT says:

    Great ideas. Love the wheelchair suggestion. Makes a lot of sense.

    Marion Wright, OCT

  4. elinor says:

    Thanks a lot for your info. We are off to Ireland with our Aspie.Three plane changes and with a younger brother. He is good if he knows what is going on, and kept to his routine as much as we can. . We take DVD, headphones,all his electronic portable stuff just in case.Food can be a problem, but if they can provide corn flakes and yogurt for any meal we will be alright hopefully!!!!

  5. ABS says:

    Our grandson is now 25 years old. We suffer the ‘if onlys’ with all of these wonderful techniques. Our guy is almost agoraphobic. What a blessing it is that we are able to get the message out in such a positive way so quickly.
    We’re still searching for help!

  6. Mary Addams says:

    These are great ideas! Thank you

  7. sheree grose says:

    thanks,Our son is seventeen I wish we would have known about this earlier, but better late than never GOD BLESS

  8. Marina says:

    As an adult diagnosed with Asperger’s please hold my hand in crowds. I may get lost with all the activity. Stay close for one on one conversations and concetration.

  9. Julie says:

    Thanks for the tips, even before we knew my son had aspergers we did these things so that traveling with him would be easier. My husband is retired Air Force, he was in for 20 years & we moved several times, twice after Brandon was born, along with several trips back to Michigan for summer vacations, so we’d do these things just to get him through the trips, along with his brother & sisters. Doing things like this help everyone in the family for long car trips.

  10. Lars Erik Grambo says:

    Hi there. I’m an aspie who just read these to learn my own ‘condition’.
    (So I’m not a parent, and not american either)

    I just want to ask, why ask for a wheelchair at an airport?

    can you explain why there might be a need for a wheelchair? as it sounds like a misuse of a resource made for the disabled.

    • Craig Kendall says:

      The idea is that the youngster can stay put! He will not get so overwhelmed if he is simply sitting and possibly reading a book or listing to music. Wheel chairs are for people who need them…not just for people with walking difficulties. It is not a “misuse of resources” if a person with autism needs it to stay calm and be able to sit through a 4 hour plane flight!

  11. Mike Rapolas says:

    These pages are great. I have saved all since they started.
    My granddaughter has Asperger’s and they are getting ready to move from Chicago to Detroit.(dad’s job) This article was great, informative and has helped me understand a little more so that I might be able to help her more.

    Thanks a “super”lot.

    Sincerely Mike Rqapolas

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