Traveling with school-aged children can be stressful for any family. Add extra needs like sensory sensitivities often associated with ADHD and Asperger Syndrome, and travel gets even tougher. Attempting to coordinate a child’s sensory, dietary, and energy needs while traveling can make any vacation or holiday seem like a full time job. At Brain Balance Achievement Centers, we want all kids, particularly those with sensory issues, to enjoy stress-free travel. Use the following travel tips to help make traveling with kids who have neuro-behavioral disorders less stressful:
Choose Travel Times Wisely
If your child has ADHD, you’ll want to schedule your travel around his or her most high energy times. For example, leave later in the morning after he or she has had a healthy dose of exercise or plan your travel time during your child’s typical downtime if possible. For a child with Asperger Syndrome and sensory processing disorder, you’ll want to schedule your travel times when airports or freeways are least crowded since too many people and too much noise can cause meltdowns. Take your child’s specific struggles into account and schedule accordingly. If your child craves structure and routine, break down the trip into increments your child can understand. For example, if you’ll be traveling by plane, make a four step schedule that includes items like 1. check into airport, 2. enjoy flight, 3. pick up luggage, 4. drive to destination, etc. Let your child mark off each item as you complete it so he or she will know what to expect next.
Dress For Success
Stay ahead of sensory meltdowns and discomfort by dressing your child in soft, comfortable clothes when you travel. Be sure to bring along sunglasses and ear plugs for those with hypersensitivities to their surroundings. If your child has problems communicating or tends to wander, make sure he or she is wearing an ID bracelet or identification sticker that includes medical information and your mobile phone number.
Bring Activities And Snacks
Plan ahead so boredom and hunger won’t be part of your child’s travel experience. Bring along some small travel games, books, and art supplies that don’t require batteries. While electronic activities can be great, they can also lead to meltdowns if they fail to work properly or if the battery runs low. When possible, bring healthy protein-packed snacks and water when you travel so your child stays full and satisfied. Avoid high sugar food and drinks that can cause a sugar high and the inevitable sugar crash.
Whether you’ll be staying at a hotel or with family, call ahead to discuss sleeping arrangements, special dietary requirements, and any other concerns you may have. When choosing a hotel, you may want to inquire about any renovations at the facility that could bother a child with noise sensitivity. If your child uses a weighted blanket, you may want to call the hotel to find out if they have a heavy blanket your child can use. Take your child’s specific needs and sensitivities into consideration when choosing a place to stay.
We hope these travel tips help make your next holiday trip or vacation a success!
If you know a child with learning and behavioral issues who struggles academically or socially, consider Brain Balance Achievement Centers. Our centers offer the Brain Balance Program® in more than 50 nationwide locations and growing. After completing a comprehensive assessment of your child’s brain and body function, we integrate physical, sensory-motor, and cognitive exercises with simple dietary changes to optimize brain function and reduce or eliminate negative symptoms and behaviors. Each child’s program is unique to his or her struggles. Contact us today to learn more!