Monday, 20 September 2021

Latest travel essentials for our autistic kids as the green list expands

Autistic boy at the beach

The wait is now over and we can book a break to somewhere a bit warmer for half-term.  Obviously there are all the normal things that we think about a a family travelling with autistic kids. Where we are going, what type of accommodation works for us and so on.   But we also seem to be struggling a little with demand and supply at the moment.  Some strange mix of Brexit, lorry driver and gas shortages means we can't always get things at short notice, so what am I thinking about sorting out for the October half-term holiday if we jet off to the Med?

Entertainment

If your children are seasoned travellers and are used going through airports and being on aeroplanes then you know how they will react. However, if your child hasn’t been on a plane before they may be feeling lots of different emotions and may need some extra support and encouragement. They could be feeling really excited or overly anxious.

You need to think about how you will keep the children entertained and calm on the way to your destination. There may be several forms of transport involved including your own car, taxis, and planes. You can make plane packs that will keep your kids entertained on the way, this needs to be age and stage appropriate. Depending on what your child is interested in it could have model building, lego, colouring books and crayons. You can put absolutely anything in the plane packs as long as it is suitable for your child and suitable for use on a plane, as they only have a small table and space to utilise.

We fill an iPad with our kid’s favourite tv shows and films to keep them in their seat, this is a winner. If you are flying long haul the plane will also provide entertainment to watch on the little tv screens.

Sunscreen

This is a vital essential that should be taken everywhere with you while you are away. Kid's skin is extra delicate so a higher factor will be needed to protect them from getting burnt.  Our sensory kids can't always tell  or tell us when they are over heating so it's important that we're extra careful.  Sunscreen is water-resistant but not waterproof so don’t make the mistake of thinking that you’ve put it on and it will protect all day.

There are lots of different forms of sunscreen as your child might not like the sensation of having sunscreen applied. They do creams which you apply and rub in, sprays which you simply spray on and let it soak in, and they also do a self-application roll-on form of sunscreen. A lot of children like this one as it gives them a sense of pride and independence that they can do it themselves but we've found the spray works best for us. 

Clothing

When you are going to a hotel there may not be the facilities available to frequently wash your clothes when they are dirty so you need to bring enough to last the whole trip. If you are staying in a villa then there will more than likely be a washing machine there for you to use, as it is more like a home from home. The benefit of having washing facilities on-site is you don’t have to pack a lot of clothes to last the entirety of the trip just remember to take a little bottle of your soap powder with you if you use a specific type or the kids have sensitive skin. 

Check what the weather will be like a couple of days before you go so you know what type of clothing to pack. Whereas some may be daring enough to wear bikinis, the kids need swimwear that will cover them in the sun and also support them in the water - we are a big fan of rash vests. I'm happy to allocate a t-shirt and pair of pants to bed if I forget but my kids their routine.  This includes their normal nightwear and it's an easy one to forget when packing.  If it is going to be a little chillier in the evening as it can sometimes be then perhaps bring some cardigans or hoodies.

Snacks

One thing that could help make your trip go smoother is to pack some snacks that you know your child eats.  Especially if going all inclusive in a different country there is a risk that your child doesn’t like any of the food available. If you have non-perishable items either in your carry-ons or in your suitcase then there is no chance your child will be hungry during your trip.  Our kids can have a restricted diet and this will mean I'll try and take a box of Shreddies with us - just to be on the safe side. 

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