Traveling Tips for Family with Special Needs Children | Salma Safira Sukma from BehaviorPALS Center| Kinderkloud

Traveling Tips for Family with Special Needs Children

family travel

Traveling and going on a vacation with your family can help increase family’s closeness and positive relationships. They are also beneficial for children with disabilities to improve their personal and social development as well as eventually their quality of life. However, traveling can be a challenge for families with special needs children as some places are not equipped to facilitate people with disabilities. Therefore, it's important for you and your family to be well prepared and organized which can help everyone to be less stressed and calm your child.

Here are some traveling tips if you have a child or children with special needs:

1. Talk to your child

It’s always good to have a conversation with your special needs child about your initial plan before planning anything further. Some children with disabilities may feel uncomfortable and scared to travel, so talking about it and involving your child in the planning process may help them to be prepared and feel more calm as they will know what to expect. Some things that you can discuss with your child include where you are going, how you will get there (with train, planes, or driving), how long it will be (whether it's only for a couple of hours or days) and what it will be like (the weather, what activities you will do, etc.).

2. Research and planning

It's very important to gather enough information about your destination, how you will get there, and where you will stay. Make sure that your child’s special needs can be supported and the activities that you will do are suitable for them. If you are flying, you can check with the airline whether they provide special arrangements or whether they are able to set a special meal for your child’s dietary needs. It's also good to explain to them what it feels like to be on an airplane and talk about the security screening process at the airport. This can also apply if you are staying in a hotel. Bringing their favorite toys or snacks can be helpful to keep your child calm while waiting for your boarding time or waiting for your hotel room. If you want to drive to your destination, it's better to have a flexible schedule for meal breaks, bathroom stops, and stretching your legs. Most importantly, keep the trip fun and add extra time in your travel schedule in case of unpredictable situations and to avoid being late at your destination.

3. Medical consideration

If your child has certain medical procedures to follow, make sure to consult your child’s health care professionals before you travel. It's also good to pack spare medicine in separate bags. You can also bring a doctor’s letter or your child’s medical report that states your child’s diagnosis for verification in case of emergency.

4. Pack what you need

While packing for your trip, you can involve your child to help decide which outfits they want to bring or which toys they want to bring. Make sure to bring enough clothes and toiletries for the whole trip by packing your clothes and other necessities by day. You should also consider your child’s condition while packing, such as bringing sunglasses if your child has issues with brightness or headphones if loud noises usually bother them. Another important thing, don’t forget to bring chargers for all of your electronic devices.

5. Create activity checklist

It might be helpful to list all agendas that you need to do during your trip so your family is on track. You can also create a seperate daily checklist or visual schedule for your special needs child to inform them what they are going to do next so they know what is coming.


 

References:

Family travel & kids with disability, autism or other additional needs. (2021, December 8). Raising Children Network Australia. Retrieved September 5, 2022 from https://raisingchildren.net.au/disability/family-life/family-management/family-travel-children-with-additional-needs 

Kastenholz, E., Eusébio, C., & Figueiredo, E. (2015). Contributions of tourism to social inclusion of persons with disability. Disability & Society, 30(8), 1259–1281. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2015.1075868

Lehto, X., Luo, W., Miao, L., & Ghiselli, R.F. (2018). Shared tourism experience of individuals with disabilities and their caregivers. Journal of Destination Marketing & Management, 8, 185–193. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jdmm.2017.04.001 

Travel tips tool kit. (2019). Milestones Autism Resources. Retrieved September 5, 2022 from https://www.milestones.org/files/assets/travel-tool-kit-printable-2019.pdf

 

By: Salma Safira Sukma Ikhsani, S.Psi. from BehaviorPALS Center

 

tips, traveling, familiy, special need, children

Special Needs / Berkebutuhan Khusus / Parenting / Pola Asuh / Family / Keluarga / Traveling Tips for Family with Special Needs Children

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