Summer is officially upon us! And that means family vacations and fun in the sun. Traveling with any child can be a challenge, but special needs children sometimes present unique difficulties when it comes to vacationing or visiting relatives. However, you should not let your fear of dealing with your child’s needs on the road deter your vacation plans. Your child should get out and experience the world just as much as you should! Use the following tips to make vacation easier and more enjoyable for everyone involved:
- Consult with your child’s physician first.
You should be sure that it is safe for your child to travel before you start making plans. Some kids simply cannot go too far from their medical facilities for their own safety. If your physician gives your child the green light to travel, you may want to ask specifically what you should bring as part of your travel pack. For example, you may want a listing of any prescription drugs that your child is taking a case of an emergency and a description of your child’s condition and physician contact information.
- Create a contact information kit.
Your child’s doctor may also have specific recommendations for specialists or physicians in the area in which you are traveling as well. Be sure you also have insurance cards and phone numbers and, if necessary, contact information for medical supply companies.
- Plan, plan, plan!
Planning a trip and having a particular destination and stops scheduled along the way can be great for any family road trip that involves children. However, it is especially important for special needs children because they may require specific stops that have certain resources, such as increased accessibility.
- Take everything you need.
Take a minute to write down everything that you use for your child’s daily habits, including mealtime, bath time, naps, and bedtime. Call ahead to ensure that wherever you are visiting has everything you need, and do not make the mistake of assuming they will have specific items. Calling ahead will help you avoid any hiccups on the road and allow you bring everything you need.Be sure to bring more than what you need for your child’s medical conditions, just in case.
- Be sure to consider transportation that meets your child’s specific needs.
If your child needs specific transportation assistance, be sure to call ahead to ensure that those resources are available. Traveling by car is usually easier, particularly if you are using your own vehicle, but it may not be the most practical. Air and train travel may need to make adjustments to accommodate certain needs. Call ahead and ask about particular guidelines or requirements for passengers with disabilities. Knowing what to expect ahead of time can go a long way towards making this a stress-free vacation for you as well.
Take some time to get out and enjoy yourself this summer! Getting out and having fun is important for both you and your special needs child. Just remember to plan and be overly cautious while you travel. Remember the adage, “It is better to be safe than sorry!”