Tips On Traveling With An Autistic Child


Let us talk about the different tips on how you can travel with your child who has autism – with less or no hassle at all.




I will be sharing with you some insights from research and experience on how to deal with the side of the spectrum when you want to bring a child with autism somewhere nice for a vacation.  I hope this can help you in some ways to turn an autistic buddy into your engaging traveling buddy.



Overwhelming Tantrums And Meltdowns

When your child has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), it can mean that your child’s social development is affected in many ways.  He may have a hard time communicating with others, unable to interact appropriately in different casual situations, and may lack the ability to concentrate or focus on some tasks.  ASD has a variety of conditions that affect his behavior, especially in social progress. “People with ASD are at increased risk for depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).” Eva A. Mendes LMHC also added.


Autism is more common among boys than girls. Studies show that roughly millions of individuals are diagnosed with autism.  It is a common conception that genes are the primary cause of autism.  There are also studies stating that there are many situations on how a child developed autism, including environmental, biological and genetic factors. “Autism is a result of neurological differences in the structure of the brain that distinguish it from what we call the neurotypical brain. It is not mental illness or a personality disorder.” Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC elaborates further.


People with autism are predisposed to having tantrums and meltdowns.  Tantrums are their signs of a need for attention or control.  People with autism do this if they feel they are not satisfied or are not comfortable with their current situation.   They even have tantrums as a means to get what they want.  On the other hand, meltdowns are far more different.  Meltdown is the violent expression of feeling that occurred when triggered by stressors such as noise in the environment, confusion because of their intellectual difficulties, and difficulties in expressing themselves emotionally.




Handling Your Kid With Autism

Patience is of most importance, which you should always carry with you to manage the tantrums and meltdowns and unwanted circumstances with a clear mind.


You must be equipped with a broad scope of information especially when your buddy gets uneasy.


Be very prepared and attentive to all kinds of situations that you and your buddy will encounter because you cannot know if this is an agent of his stressor. Your buddy is hypersensitive when it comes to things or environments new to him.


Traveling with your autistic child through land and air can be a hard task. It is a new environment for him and it usually takes more hours of patience in having to be still which is very uncomfortable for him. “Research shows the biggest boost in happiness comes from planning the vacation.” Shannon Torberg, PsyD, LP said.




Securing the best seat in the vehicle for your child helps make him feel comfortable especially on long travels.  You can have short discussions about how he can handle himself during long trips. Ask him about what things he would like to bring and toys he will play later to reduce the stress and anxiety of the environment that’s new to him.


Be sure to pack all the things you know that your son needs and stuff he might want or look for, like his favorite book, stuffed toys, or pillows.  The last thing that you want to avoid would be the tantrums, especially if he does not get what he wants.


Make him familiar with traveling, especially with airplanes, so as to have less trouble when you are about to go.   You can do make-believe plays when you intend to travel by plane.   Know your kid’s rights when traveling within the US by making yourself familiar with the Air Carrier Access Act (ACAA, 14 CFR 382), because no one should discriminate your child when flying.


Be sure to play relaxing music that he loves on your gadget that can calm him or distract him when he is having an attack.  Music can help him sleep and not focus more on the chattering noise of the passengers and the plane engines when you are about to take off and even upon landing.  And also, avoid watching television on the trip because the content may act as a stimulus for a meltdown.




Before traveling, be sure to have a visit to his doctor to give him a clearance to fly.  You may also request his doctor to prescribe him sleeping pills to ensure that he will be sleeping during the whole trip.


Knowing the necessary precautions before having a trip with your autistic child is a must. It will reduce the cost and hassle for you and your buddy and will make the trip enjoyable for both of you.