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Travelling Checklist For Parents of Children with Social Difficulties

By Ben Sidman

Travelling can be a great way to give your family a relaxing break or some new experiences. Travelling with children with social difficulties can be very difficult with all the changes of environment. The following checklist is a quick summary of all the main points made in this guide and helps you to make the most of your trip.

Finding places to go

Try to find a place that will compliment you child's behavior and needs. You can find information on destinations from:

"Travel Guides and Books,

"Travel Agents,

"Internet Sites including

"National directories of holiday listings (like the National Organisations) and

"Online Searches,

"National and Local Support Groups (either your own or local to potential holiday destinations)

Choosing a Destination

Consider types of places for both you and your child. Some of the considerations that most people think about before travelling are:





"what the areas have to offer and many more...

Make a note of all the specific needs of your child such as sensitivity to noises or crowded places and find out about the types of environments you will encounter. Think about the logistics, how to get around and what to do in an emergency. Try contacting the local support group if you can find one.


Try and involve your child in researching the area and what it has to offer. You could also let them decide on places to go. Find out as much information and find pictures to make the travelling and arrival as familiar as possible. Make a schedule of the places you and your child has are interest in and try to find pictures and information about them. Prepare for difficult situations such as waiting in queues, flying, travel (e.g. sickness, toilet stops etc), dietary needs or meal times and sleeping arrangements. Try to find out this information before arriving and see if you can avoid them if possible by talking to tour operators or airlines and arranging special facilities.

Flying on a Plane

If you have to fly you should prepare for the likely issues of air pressure changes, moving about, turbulence, meals and noise levels. In some cases, discussing these with airline staff when booking can help.

Things to Take With You

Amongst the many things to pack, make sure you have all the medication, medical notes about the condition, language guides and any special equipment. The medical notes may be useful if you have arranged special requirements beforehand.

Language problems

Use useful guides to help you with language barriers such as phrase books and pocket translators. It will help to be able to speak a few words to give people an explanation if you should get into any difficulty with your child's condition abroad.


Lay down some ground rules at the start and refresh them in your child's mind again when you arrive. Also try to observe changes in your child's behavior that may indicate they are in some way uncomfortable or distressed. This will happen when they experience discomfort from any of the changes in the environment. The resultant behavior that your child exhibits may not be so obvious as they may respond differently and unpredictably to the new place.

Final Note

Have a wonderful and stress free trip and enjoy yourself and your child as much as possible..

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