Travel and Activity Suggestions
Grandparents frequently travel and enjoy summer vacations together with their families. This issue is devoted to travel tips, autism and sensory friendly destinations and summer activities to enjoy at home with your grandchildren.
It is becoming easier to travel with children affected by autism. More staff members at venues are receiving autism training and more vacation destinations are becoming certified as “autism certified” organizations. In order to attain that status, at least 80% of the staff must receive 21 or more hours of autism training, pass a test and re-certify every 2 years. Many of the locations that have been certified are listed below.
Autism Friendly Destinations:
- Here are 30 Best Autism-Friendly Vacation Ideas
- USA Today also has these suggestions
- These destinations provide water activities
Questions to Ask before Making Reservations
State any specific needs your grandchild has to inquire what resources are available on site to meet those needs:
- What accommodations exist for individuals with autism?
- Are quieter areas or rooms available?
- Can substitutions be made for food dietary restrictions?
- Is there an accessibility pass available for site attractions?
- Are there requirements or restrictions for rides?
- Are sensory guides or maps available?
Getting There: Air Travel Tips
Before you travel by air, role play with your grandchild or visit a local airport together so they will know what to anticipate. Explain what they will experience during the security and pre-boarding protocols.
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) now has special accommodations for people with disabilities. Their website provides a video with additional information. You can print a TSA Notification Card online for your grandchild prior to travel.
At the gate, inform the attendant you are traveling with a child with autism and request your preference for pre-boarding or late boarding. Bring candy, gum or a chew toy to prevent ear popping discomfort, favorite digital tablets, books or toys and snacks.
Apply for an IAC Card
Some parks and attractions recognize the digital IBCCES Accessibility Card (IAC), a free resource for individuals with disabilities who need special accommodations at participating amusement parks. Learn more about it here.
You will find additional Summer Travel Tips on our GAN website
At Home Summer Activities
- Plant vegetables or flowers in the garden.
- Share recreational activities and encourage exercise. Try walking, hiking, camping, skating, golfing, bowling or riding bikes together.
- Visit a local park, playground or museum.
- Create water games. Run through sprinklers, fill balloons and toys with water. Create an obstacle course together around the sprinklers.
- Watch a movie. Check your local theater to see if they offer sensory friendly shows or watch movies together at home with favorite snacks you prepare together.
- Engage in sensory play. Fill a small plastic pool or large topless storage container with sand or water and place some small toys in it.
- Make homemade ice cream. Here’s an easy recipe.
- Prepare summer fresh fruit popsicles. These look as good as they taste
- Read together. Visit a local library. Provide a selection of colorful magazines, books and graphic novels that explore cultures, people and animals from around the world or cater to your grandchild’s special interests.
- Build with blocks or Lego sets. Create a design together.
- Make music. Use rhythm instruments, drumsticks, pots, pans, wooden spoons and spatulas to play along with a favorite song. Dance together to the music.
- Make art and crafts projects. Provide supplies and encourage drawing or doing needlework together.
- Make an easy recipe of clay. Go here to view 5 recipes you can make with some ingredients you may already have in your kitchen pantry.
New Family Research Opportunity: SPARK
Stanford University is conducting a new online research study that will be the nation’s largest study ever conducted. All ages are encouraged to enroll. Joining SPARK is simple – registration is online and participants provide a DNA sample via a saliva collection kit in the comfort of their own homes. Learn more online and encourage your family to enroll in the study here. Help to ensure a better future for all individuals and families affected by autism.
Now is the perfect time to sort through cupboards, drawers and closets. Most of us have collectibles and other worthwhile items that our children do not want. Donations to the Grandparent Autism Network are tax-deductible. Create more space for all the fabulous things that you love AND benefit grandparents and their families affected by autism.
All donated items are sold through our e-Bay for Charity store, raising money to support our programs, services and websites. We welcome donated goods such as:
- New unwanted gifts
- Collectibles, Home Accessories, Craft Items
- New Clothing, Shoes and Handbags
- Fine, Vintage and Costume Jewelry
- Mobile Phones, Tablets and Laptops
You can mail or drop off donations for GAN at the store located at 23785 El Toro Road, #103, Lake Forest, CA. Contact us at email@example.com for possible pickup options in Orange County, CA and for tax-donation forms.
Donations are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law.
Tax ID# 20-5230144