It’s World Autism Month! You may have seen communities and individuals around the globe “lighting it up blue” for autism this month to help raise awareness. In support of this campaign, we’ve dedicated our blogs this month to topics in autistic spectrum disorders (ASD). Over the past weeks, we’ve covered topics like signs and symptoms for early identification and how speech-language therapy can improve communication. Today, we’re going to provide some tips for helping your child on the spectrum enjoy a family vacation.
Planning a trip for the family can be stressful for everyone, but if you have a child on the autistic spectrum, taking a vacation can bring on an entire different set of worries and concerns. However, with a little planning and extra consideration, the trip can be enjoyable and stress free for everyone involved. Take a look at our tips below:
- Prepare for your trip by talking with your child about what to expect in advance. Read books and stories about vacations or taking an airplane to help your child get used to the idea. Role-playing and “let’s pretend” games also serve as a great opportunity for practice and can help your child ease into a new, potentially stressful experience.
- Throughout your trip, keep an eye out for signs of anxiety or distress so you can address the situation before your child hits the breaking point. An increase in behaviors such as humming or rocking may mean your child needs a break from all the activity.
- Ask your child’s speech therapist to incorporate vacation themes and activities into sessions as your trip nears. Rehearsing communication strategies in context can help a child prepare for interacting with a variety of people and situations.
- It’s tough when you’re on vacation, but try to keep your child’s schedule as regular as possible. If you are staying with family, don’t be afraid to communicate to your hosts what you need in order to make your child and yourself comfortable.
- During and after the vacation, talk about all the new experiences with your child. Take pictures and talk about them, recalling what you did and saw and how your child felt. These pictures can serve as a visual aid to help your child tell others about their vacation. You can also go over these pictures together before your next vacation to help your child mentally prepare.
If you have any questions or would like to know more about speech-language therapy, give us a call at (212) 308-7725 or send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d be happy to chat and answer any questions you may have.
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