Traveling with children with special needs can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to ease feelings of anxiety:
Create a social story. Use simple language and pictures of what to expect on the trip. Seeing visual images will allow your child to more easily process the trip. Begin reading the social story with your child every day for at least a week prior to your vacation. Remember to bring the social story with you on the flight or in the car, so your child can read it then, too.
Allow your child to pack a bag with 3 special items. This will allow them to feel they have some control over what is happening. Your child can pack his or her favorite stuffed animal, book, or toy and can also use these items on the plane to keep busy.
Pack snacks. The more familiar items your child has with them, the less overwhelming the situation will feel. Remember to pack extra snacks just in case of flight delays or traffic.
Bring a weighted lap pad or weighted blanket. This provides deep input to the child, which can be calming and organizing.
Bring noise canceling headphones. Airplanes can get quite loud especially during take-off and landing.
For further help, talk to your Eyas Landing therapists for more specific advice on traveling with your child.