Vacation Planning Tips for Families Living with ASD

From a day at the beach to a cross-country road trip, summer is virtually synonymous with vacations. For families with children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), however, vacations can present some unique challenges.

How can you make sure that vacations remain fun and non-stressful for your entire family? Here are some tips that may help:  

Choose your destination carefully.  

When you’re planning a vacation, make sure to consider your child’s personality and needs. Some children may delight in a trip to Disneyland, while others may prefer less crowded places such as parks or the beach. Whatever your destination is, be sure to give your child plenty of time during each day to calm down in a quiet environment like a hotel room.  

Start preparing early.  

Children with ASD are often upset by changes in schedule, so you should sit down with your child as soon as possible to talk about your vacation: where you will be going, what you will be doing, and how long you will be there. It may help to draw pictures of your trip or to show your child photos and videos of your destination online.  

Make a schedule for the trip.  

It’s important to sit down and draw up a rough schedule for each day of your vacation before you leave. If you have a daily routine for your child, it will be comforting for them and help them enjoy the trip more. This may be as simple as having a snack at a certain time of day, having an afternoon nap at the same time every day, or watching a favorite video on YouTube before bed.  

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