Traveling with Autism – Tips for visiting New York City
New York City is an amazing place with so many exciting things to see and do. Your senses will reel from all the lights, sounds and scents you encounter as you make your way down the streets to each destination. It’s all very fascinating but for a child with a sensory disorder, it can be overwhelming and maybe even a bit scary.
This doesn’t mean you have to forgo a NYC trip with an autism child in tow, but it does mean you may want to do a bit of extra preparation to make it more enjoyable for everyone.
Planning your trip in advance will help ensure everyone in the family has a good time while visiting the Big Apple. You want to take every precaution you can to ensure your child is safe, comfortable and as relaxed as possible. Check out the tips for visiting New York City with your child on the Autism Spectrum below.
Here are a few tips for traveling with autism to help make your trip to New York City more enjoyable:
- Consider your child’s special needs – Every child on the spectrum is different so take your child’s special needs into consideration when planning your trip. For example, does he need a wheelchair to get around or any other special equipment? Does he have a midday routine he can’t miss or special food he needs to eat at a certain time? Everything is important, even the things that might seem small to you.
- Determine how you plan to explore the city – The most common way to navigate the city is by foot, subway, bus or taxi. You’ll need to decide which method is best suitable for your child. Consider comfort and how difficult it will be to do when choosing.
- Time your trip wisely – The city is always busy on any given day but during special events, it’s even more crowded. It’s best to avoid parades and other special events when visiting New York with an artistic child. It may prove to be too overwhelming for him to handle.
- Let your child help you plan the trip – This will help the child get familiar with the things he’ll see on the trip along with the idea of visiting the city. It may help him relax more when you get there. It will also help you get an idea of the things he might be interested in seeing or doing the most.
- Be flexible and let your child spend time doing the things he seems to enjoy most – A child with a sensory disorder may find things interesting that you didn’t think about. So, allow yourself plenty of time between activities in case something unexpected comes up. You do not want to try to rush a trip like this. There are far too many exciting things to see and do!
- Be aware of the signs that might indicate the child is close to having a meltdown – No one knows your child as you do. If you begin seeing signs that indicate a meltdown might be on the way, take a break. There are park benches, plazas and several small park areas located throughout the city where you can sit, take a break and regroup.
- Have your child wear an emergency contact band – No matter how careful you are, it is possible to get separated from your child when in large crowds. It becomes even more of a problem if he tends to run off due to his autism. The identification band, necklace or ID card should include your child’s medical condition and contact information.
Use these tips for traveling to New York with an artistic child to help plan your trip. They’ll help you prepare for a safe and enjoyable adventure. A child with autism spectrum disorder can have a great time in New York City even with bright lights, strange smells, and loud noises. You just have to plan ahead and take your child’s special needs into consideration.