Vacations and The A word

It can be difficult to talk about.

Difficult to think about.
Difficult to plan for.
We love going on vacation. 
All of us love being on vacation.
We love the fun.
We love the excitement.
We love everything except how Autism affects vacations.

Being cool with daddy on vacation 2014

I think there was a while that we went into vacations somewhat blindly.
Not to say that we are hopeful now, but it’s different.
It’s more of a planned hope.
A very intentional hope with a plan.
We have left the amusement parks late at night after being overstimulated all day, screaming and crying and just not being able to stop.
Those are not the memories we want our children to hold onto and take with them.
And, honestly and thankfully they don’t seem to be the ones that stick.
But, if we can avoid that from happening at all, then we want to.
So, how do we attempt to do that?

Our answer: Don’t go it alone.
Never feel as though you are the only one who is in this or trying to make it better. If you don’t feel like you have a partner or a team, hopefully you have resources. Professionals, social workers, psychologists, friends and family that can help your child and you to have the tools you need to succeed. For us this is been really helpful and helped us to set out on a plan before we go on vacation. For our next trip away, we have a list of expected behaviors and responses. We have also talked a lot about small reactions going with small problems. One of our biggest issues is big reactions to small problems or something that doesn’t seem to really be a problem at all. Transitions are also really tough and vacations are typically full of them. We also have a “family plan” so we can think about and talk about all of our roles before we start something. For example, if we are going to a Hotel for the first time, we can talk about what we will each need to do in order to get checked in and settled in our room. It’s actually a pretty fun game and all of the other kids get into it too.

Next: Don’t sweat the small stuff.
You know when it’s too much for your child. You know your child. You know when they are overstimulated and need a break. You know when you need to address something right then or when you should just let it go, because it’s really not a big deal. You know. So, trust your instincts and don’t worry about what other people think. If that is what is driving you during a meltdown, then it will never end well. We have to learn to separate our child’s behavior or misbehavior from our own self worth and frankly, that can be really challenging in a public place.

Finally: Choose activities you are confident your child will succeed at doing and do those activities.
It’s his vacation too. And, him being filled with joy riding his favorite ride brings him joy and that brings joy to the whole family. You don’t have to plan your entire family vacation around one person, but it’s nice to think of things that each family member will love to do and to try to make that happen on a big trip. It makes each of us feel special to know that we are valued and that are interests are taken in to account when our parents make plans for the family. I certainly choose activities that I want to do. It’s my vacation too. 🙂

Don’t give up. If you do encounter a meltdown of epic proportions during a vacation, ride the storm and pray it passes quickly. They usually do and with my guy, he seems to block that stuff out and really focuses on all the wonders and excitement of the day. We are blessed.

brothers on vacation, summer 2014

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