1. Practice makes progress!

    • Practice visiting similar places in advance.
    • Show your child pictures and videos of where you will go.
    • Talk about the trip in the weeks prior to departure.
    • Use a timer to practice for waiting.

  2. Contact guest services in advance!

    • Many theme parks, airlines, and hotels will provide special accommodations for your child.
    • Prepare for sensory issues, special diets, limit waiting time, etc.

  3. Provide choices!

    • Let your child help to choose toys and snacks to bring with them.
    • Let them choose which seat they will sit in or whose hand they will hold.
    • Allow your child to take a break from the activity if they need to.

  4. Prepare for sensory concerns!

    • Pack noise cancelling headphones/earplugs.
    • On the plane choose seats towards the front for less noise.
    • Bring a variety of fidget toys for your child to hold.
    • Prepare to board first to avoid the crowds.

  5. Safety first!

    • Consider having your child wear an ID tag/tattoo/shirt, etc. in case they get lost.
    • Wearable GPS trackers can be helpful if your child is a runner or wanders off.

  6. Prep your environment!

    • Ensure that the room you will stay in will be conducive to your child’s sensory needs.
    • Ensure that dietary needs can be met, or plan to pack alternatives for your child.
    • Make sure that there is someone available to take breaks in another area with your child if they become overwhelmed.

  7. Family watch system!

    • Rotate providing 1:1 support for your child with other family members. This will create a more manageable trip for everyone.

  8. Reinforce good behavior!

    • Remember to provide rewards to your child in order to reinforce appropriate behavior throughout the trip.

  9. Keep your routine!

    • Try to keep as normal as a routine as possible while you are away. This will help your child to predict some of their day.

  10. Create a schedule.

    • Use a picture schedule to show your child what will happen throughout each day.
    • Review the schedule in advance and throughout the day. The more predictable the day is, the easier it will be for your child to adjust.

By: Sarah McLaughlin, M.A., ABA Clinical Supervisor – Queens