Everyone wants to travel with their family for fun,adventure, and memories. Having a family vacation to Disneyland, Niagara Falls, or a trip to the Carrebean would create beutiful memories for your family. But what if one of your children is diagnosed with a disabiliy? Travelling is already stressful, imagine travelling with a special needs child. Planning a vacation or travelling to Disneyland with a special needs child should not overwhelm you. Here are five tips for travelling with a special needs child that hopefully will make your trip go smoothly.
1. Consult with the child’s pediatrician. Get permission and have your child medically cleared to make sure they’re able to travel without limitations. And if there are limitations they need to be addressed. Make sure the doctor provides a note that states the condition or diability the child has, list of medications, allergies to medications or food and what to do in case of an emergency. Know the location of the nearest hospital and pharmacy in the area which you will be staying. Keeping this in order will cause you unnecessary stress if a medical emergency arises.
*If you are planning a road trip with a special needs child be aware of the rest stops so your child would be able to use the restroom and stretch theeir legs. Make sure you have ipads, game consoles, anything that will keep your child entertained, calm and distracted.
*If you decide to travel by train with a child with a disability, the train trip should be short. Make sure you book a train that has bathroom facilities on it to make your life easier for you and your family. Also just like the road trip, make sure your child has an ipad, game consoles and something you should also consider noise cancelling headphones. Many children especially those diagnosed with autism suffer ffrom sensory processing disorder and noise affect them. A good noise cancelling headphone will make the trip go much smoother.
*Air travel with a special needs child should not overwhelm you. Book early so you can prepare. Always call ahead and discuss their policy and guidelines for passengers with disabilities.
Tip** if your child suffers from hyperactivity or ADHD book a window seat away from the aisle. This prevents the child from hitting another passenger walking down the aisle, hitting a cart, or the child themselves running down the aisle.
3. Have a back up plan. You never know when you will be running late, car breaks down, crises happens or you miss the flight. You need a plan to deal with the child to keep him entertained while the situation is being dealt with. You might need to bring a special toy, ipad, snack something to help pass the time. The last thing you need is for a child to drive the whole family crazy.
4. Before you leave create a checklist and check it before you leave. Make sure you have doctor’s phone number, medications, special toys, health insurance card.
You do not want to walk out the door and realize your child’s life necessary medication was left on the kitchen table.
5. Find resources to help you. In todays internet world where we are all connected, you can find facebook groups, online support groups and valuable information to help plan your family vacation with a special needs child. Also consult with a travel agent. They can help you plan your trip. They can assist you with hotel accomodations and map out your trip for your family.
We hope this will help you take the fear of planning your vacation with your family no matter what the circumstances are. Remember every family is different and every disability is not the same. But these guidelines should help get your trip together and create memories for your family.
Ramona Dejesus Curtis is a resident of ny/nj metro area. She is a wife, mompreneur, blogger, vlogger special needs advocate
She is the creator and founder of K.I.D Clothes.