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Holiday Travel Tips for Your Child with ASD

The holiday season can be a busy or stressful time of year for many people, particularly for those planning to travel. Planning ahead to ensure your travel or stay with loved ones goes as smoothly as possible may help alleviate some of the stress. We have included some tips to help you prepare for travel and enjoy this magical time of year!

1. Prepare your child

As you prepare for travel in the coming days, include your child in the planning. Get them excited by talking to them and letting them know what they can expect and where they are going. Many autistic children struggle with changes and transitions. Preparing them for the trip may alleviate some of the stress. If your child struggles with verbal comprehension or has a hard time remembering details, consider using a visual countdown, schedule, or calendar to help them understand when and what will be happening. Make sure to bring this with you on your trip as well!

2. Packing

When packing for your trip, bring any essential items your child gravitates towards when they are overstimulated or anxious. The busy airport or unfamiliar relatives' house may be an overwhelming experience for your child. You should also include some calming sensory items to help ease the transition.

3. What to bring on the plane or car

Consider bringing noise-canceling headphones, a familiar blanket, a favorite snack, or fidget items. Ensure your child has access to these items and a way to communicate their feelings with you. If your child uses a communication device, be sure to bring that along!

Aside from calming or sensory items, ensure you have a few activities prepared to keep your child engaged. Keeping your child occupied during long flights or car rides can be challenging. Bring some favorite videos, games, books, or art supplies. If your child gets tired of the same items quickly, consider surprising them with something new for the trip to help them get excited and stay busy. Having readily available activities can also help you redirect to something productive if your child escalates or engages in unwanted behaviors. Check out our Amazon sensory holiday gift guide for ideas.

4. Stay healthy!

Nothing is more stressful than traveling while you or your child is sick. It may be easy to become run down while traveling, getting little sleep, or eating things you don't normally eat. As you prepare for your upcoming trip, ensure you and your child get enough sleep, drink enough fluids, and maintain stress. Hydrate with drinks that contain electrolytes or boost your immune system in the days leading up to your trip. Talk to your healthcare provider regarding strategies to prevent illness during this cold and flu season.

Here at Kadiant, we wish you a happy and healthy holiday experience with your family! The magic of the season is something you should all be able to share, and we hope these tips will help you make the most of your time with loved ones.


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