7 Summer Fun Tips for Autism Families

Updated: May 18, 2021

Written by: Shain Slepian

Edited by: Chantel Smith

Summer is approaching fast, which means most families are eagerly waiting to plan a vacation. However, aside from the excitement, many face challenges

keeping their children with autism and special needs comfortable throughout the transit to the grand destination.

For many children on the autism spectrum, these discomforts can be far more disturbing than for other children and it's important to take notice of their respective needs. With proper planning of logistics, activities and materials to bring it is possible to make your family vacation fun, inclusive and relaxing.

Here are 7 amazing NESS tips that'll have you ready for summer fun in the sun!

Safety first: Stay prepared!

Tip #1: Protect your family

Be mindful that although we have seen strides in progress to combating COVID-19 that we are not at the finish line yet. Make sure to continue to take precaution while you're on vacation. Pack your personal protection equipment (disposable face masks are encouraged especially if you are limited to washing clothes while on your trip) as well as hand sanitizers and disinfectant wipes for commonly touched surfaces.

Tip #2: Prepare for the heat

More now than ever it's important to make sure everyone stays hydrated! Keep plenty of clean water at all times, and make sure your kids are actually drinking it rather than forgetting to take it out of their backpacks.

Sometimes, children have trouble identifying the source of their distress: a child crying as though they are in pain might simply be a reaction to thirst or overheating.

Likewise, applying sunscreen as a part of your morning routine as well as wearing a hat and sunglasses are great ways to avoid skin conditions such as sunburns or flare ups and stay protected under the sun.

Tip #3: Create a checklist for personal items

There's always that one thing that we forget to pack but you'll absolutely want to make sure that you have the following. At least 2-3 weeks prior to the trip make a list of all medications, vitamins and supplements for each traveler. This gives you ample time to get refills. Then, take the list and check off each item as you pack it into your bag.

Planes, Trains & Automobiles: En Route

Tip #4: Give yourself plenty of time

Taking flight for your get-away? Make sure that you leave extra time to arrive. Security check is a process to be aware of: children may have discomfort with the protocol of taking off their shoes, standing still in the metal detector, and repacking items. In addition, getting to the airport earlier will allow more time to eat a proper meal, use the restroom and stretch before boarding.

side note: Make your travel quicker by opting to packing carry-ons to speed up the

deboarding process and ensure that fewer hands come in contact with your luggage.

Tip #5: Comfort

Pillows and blankets are great for keeping children comfortable. Naps help to pass the time of the travel so consider bringing a sleep mask if your child is sensitive to light.

Another great sensory tool to bring are noise-cancelling headphones.Children with auditory sensitivity may find the uncommon amount of noise at an airport unbearable. While some children may find headphones irritating, it is worth providing them as an option for when the the environment is simply too much.

Tip #6: Make a plan for gas/rest stops

Is your family going on a road trip instead? Make sure to consider the following. Keep aware of your route to your destination and plan breaks ahead of time to rest and fuel up. You know your child's limitations to waiting to go to the restroom. Do them and yourself the favor of taking breaks as necessary during the journey.

Tip #7: Pack snacks

Eating at a rest stop can be fun once or twice, but the unnecessary expense adds up. Not to mention, there is little way to know if the nearest rest stop will have food that meets your child's dietary needs. Before getting in the car, pack at least 2 snacks per child that can sustain throughout the temperature. Granola bars, fruit, nuts, and crackers are all good choices.

As the school year comes to an end and the vacation planning begins we hope that our tips leave you prepared to enjoy a well deserved moment to relax, recharge and build memories with your family. Before you go, make sure not to miss out on NESS Cares' free Summer Sensory Box!

NESS Cares, Inc. is our 501c3 non-profit organization and the NESS team is excited for the arrival of the new boxes for the season! These sensory boxes are excellent for all children (and adults) with any kind of sensory processing difficulties. With our carefully selected range of sensory items and CBD oils the sensory box is a perfect and compact necessity for all travelling families this summer!