Mums who have children with Autism face unusual challenges. This kind of disability requires that children who suffer have constant supervision and care. For single mums, this can make traveling around Australia, or the world, extremely difficult. Not only will you be handling your own travel schedule, but you will need to take extra precautions to ensure that you and your child arrive at your destination in as easy a way as possible.
To help, here are eight ways you, the single mum, can hit the Outback roads and start exploring outside of your hometown with your autistic child.
Chances are if you have never left your hometown with your autistic child, you will both be in for a new adventure together. To help prepare you and your child alike, simulate the trip prior to actually heading out on vacation. This can be as easy as packing up the car and making the trip to the store and back, or you may want to take a day trip to a local attraction and see how you and your child fare. Either way, simulating a vacation prior to your vacation can help you and your child to be mentally ready for a longer trip.
Another way you can help prepare your child mentally for the upcoming adventure is to create a storybook. This can include pictures of the place where you will be traveling to together or images of family members you may be going to visit. By doing this, you will create excitement and inspire positive feelings about the trip.
Boredom can happen on a plane ride or in the car and can lead to significant difficulty to calm your child with autism down and avoid public temper tantrums or fits. To handle these situations where boredom is an extremely likely scenario, pack away more distractions and entertainment than you think you may need. This will ensure that you have enough to keep your child entertained and loving the trip.
To help your child better adjust to a new setting, you will want to bring along any familiar belongings, such as bedding or a pillow, to keep your child feeling as comfortable as possible. If you will be staying in a hotel, you may want to call in advance and warn the hotel that you will be doing this and to note it on your reservation so that they can assist in making your stay an easy one.
It is easy for children with autism to wander off unknowingly. Make sure that you have ID on your child before you go out in public so that if anything does happen, you are still able to be reached. While there is little likelihood of this happening, you will be more at peace knowing that your child has your number in case they need to find you again.
Having a plan is an important part of catering to your child’s needs. Traveling with an autistic child will require more organisation than if you were traveling on your own and keeping a tight plan will help you to stay on task. Within your plan, it is important to keep the interests of your child in mind and plan according to their preferences as well.
Even though you plan a schedule, you know as a single mum that things can go in the opposite direction very quickly. Create a backup plan so that you can be as prepared as possible for this to happen.
This does not have to be much, but giving your child some responsibility, such as holding on to the schedule for you, will give a sense of ownership about the trip which may make them more excited to travel. Find fun things that your child can feel a part of and give the job to them to handle specific tasks. As you get ready to hit the road with your autistic child, prepare and plan as best possible so that you can be sure you have a wonderful trip together.
About the Author
Jane Bongato is an early childhood educator with a background in special education and closely works with children who have special needs for about 6 years now. She enjoys reading, painting or meeting friends during her spare time.
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