Coming to meet the parents, the psychologist Daniela Gavankar, president of the Association for Therapeutic Intervention in Autism – AITA, makes some useful recommendations, explaining the difficulties that can be experienced by children and what needs to be done.
Holidays affect the routine that children with autism need
For children diagnosed with autism, holidays can be more difficult, because they are deviations from the usual routine. During them, I do not go to therapy and may lose some purchases. Moreover, vacations bring new experiences. Vacation at the sea means meeting new people, sleeping in a different bed, eating something different, going to the beach, to parties. All of this can be difficult for a child with an autism spectrum disorder who has little interest in travel.
What to do before you go on a trip
A calendar would be extremely useful for autistic children who need to know what is coming next. It must be specified when the vacation will take place and how long it will last.
Here’s what to consider before you go:
– whether or not he agrees to sleep in another bed,
– if they eat food other than the one at home,
– behavior at the restaurant, at the pool, at the beach.
Try sleeping in a hotel, going to a swimming pool, restaurant, sandy beach or playground where he can touch sand.
“Depending on the difficulties experienced by the child, a desensitization will be done so that he is better prepared for all the changes that going on a vacation entails”, explained Daniela Gavankar (photo) who added:
“When traveling, it is recommended that parents make sure they have the toys, books, and food preferred by the child.
It is recommended not to completely change his clothes or shoes and, if this is intended, that these things be presented to him before departure. Even if he wants, let him keep an hour or two a day dedicated to therapy activities, which will bring him predictability and comfort.”
Some children do not encounter these difficulties on vacation or certain recommendations are not applied to them. There are autistic children in love with the sea, who enjoy new experiences intensely and who make fantastic progress during a holiday at sea.
On the other hand, there are children for whom the sensory load during the holiday is beyond their level of tolerance and it is recommended to know before departure if and where there are difficulties, and that the child be helped to overcome them.