Traveling With Special Needs

Posted on Mar 10, 2014 in From Our Team- Blog

Traveling with any child is an adventure in and of itself. Couple that with a child that requires more specialized accommodations and care. With a bit more preparation your special needs son or daughter, with the right steps in place, you can still have a successful flight. Here’s How:

Accept your reality: Whether a child has special needs or not, a lot of times parents will find themselves frustrated simply because their children are not doing what they want (or expect) them to do. The reality is that with kids, things aren’t always going to happen just as you would like them to and the sooner that you accept that fact, the more prepared you’ll be for whatever surprises or minor conveniences that may happen along the way.

Thoroughly pack and plan: If you’re headed to a hotel or resort, call ahead and speak with a manager about what kind of accommodations your child will require from a wheelchair ramp, to bathroom rails, to even special kinds of meals that may need to be prepared. Also, make sure to get acquainted with the employees so that you will feel more comfortable with any “on call” requests that may occur.

Be patient: For those consummate “schedulers” try and step back a bit while traveling with a special needs child. Allow others to step up and support you in meeting your child’s needs. Add an extra 15-30 minutes for all activities that occur in an unfamiliar setting, they may need a bit more attention and reassurance in order for them to feel safe, so allot time a bit of additional time for that too.

Sit in a corner table in the back: Your child may use an electric wheelchair or one of those electric mobility scooters or you may carry them in, but when you’re eating at a restaurant, request for a corner table in the back. This is not for the sake of the other people eating around you so much as your own peace of mind. This allows your child more freedom to just be! They can mess up the table as they eat, make loud sounds and you do not feel obligated to reposition their mobility devices out of the way of so much “traffic”.

Don’t be self-conscious: Anytime people see something that they are not used to, they tend to react in a myriad of ways. They may stare. They may point. Their own children may yell out things that they see. Remember not to take it too personally nor allow anyone to have you so focused on the fact that your child has “needs”, that you lose sight of just how “special” they are.