Family road trips can be a lot of fun, but for an autistic child, there can be some unique circumstances to consider. After all, you are taking them out of their comfort zone, seeing new things, and having new experiences. And there is the time you spend on the road before you reach your final destination and eventually your home. Autistic children can become pros on road trips, but you need to make sure you prepare them for what they should expect during your time on the road. This is easy to do with social stories, but there are other helpful items you need to have with you if you want to have a successful road trip in the books.
If your child is always holding their lovelies when they are home or uses one to calm down, you must make sure you have those items with you when you are traveling. The lovelies can be used as a distraction, as well as a way of comforting your child if they become overwhelmed.
Snacks are a must for anyone taking a road trip! While you can easily grab food from a rest stop or nearby restaurant, I always recommend having favorite snacks and drinks with you in the car. This will ensure you don’t need to stop every time your child is hungry. And you won’t need to worry if a restaurant will have something your child would eat. Instead, you can hand out snacks as needed and know your child won’t have a meltdown because they are starving.
Lots of Stops
As wonderful as it is to have lots of snacks in the car, I still recommend making lots of stops when you are taking a road trip with an autistic child. Everyone needs time to move around, stretch, and work the wiggles out. I guarantee everyone will be in a better mood when they get back in the car after having a little time to run around and play.
Riding in a car for hours can get really boring. While you can play the infamous car games, read books, and listen to music, most autistic kids will want to have time on their favorite devices. It is best to make sure these devices are charged completely before you leave for your road trip. Charging cords and adapters will be needed to keep these items charged too, so don’t forget to pack them.
All kids love surprises, so why not make up a few goodie bags to give them during your road trip! You can fill these goodie bags with favorite snacks, small toys, and other items you know your child will love. I recommend spreading the goodie bags out throughout the trip, so your child always has something new to look forward to. Trust me when I say these goodie bags can be lifesavers when it comes to getting through another hour or two on the road.
Social Stories for Staying in a Hotel
Prior to leaving on your road trip, it is a wonderful idea to share multiple social stories about your hotel with your child. You can share stories of what they can expect, the room you will be staying in, and even some of the amenities at the hotel. The goal is to make your child feel comfortable when you reach your hotel.
Always Choose a Hotel with a Pool
There are many hotels you can choose from when you are taking a road trip with your child. However, I always find it is best to choose a hotel with a pool when you are traveling with an autistic person. Water is always a calming experience, so you can always head to the pool if your autistic child is struggling with their new surroundings.
These seven tips will help you be successful when you take a road trip with your autistic child. If you have never taken a road trip before, make sure you incorporate these tips in your planning. And if you have taken a road trip before, build on that success for the next one by trying out the tips you may not have used before. Remember, travel is for everyone and includes taking thrilling road trips to new destinations!
You might also like these articles on Bébé Voyage blog: