If you are planning for your grandchild’s vacation visit, look for entertainment options for “special needs children.” Children with autism do not like surprises and you can prepare them before they arrive for planned activities. Here are some suggestions:
- Call ahead to local amusement parks to see if you can get special needs passes for your family when you visit. You may need to provide a letter from school or medical sources to document that your request is valid. Typically, you will get priority in accessing the park. Send a brochure or photos of the park to your grandchildren several weeks in advance of your visit there so they will be more comfortable in that environment when you arrive.
- If you plan to travel together with public transportation like buses, trains or airplanes, it’s a good idea to take very short excursions first so that they will be familiar with the sounds, vibrations and crowds before being challenged by a longer trip.
Contact local parks and recreation centers or use a search engine like Google to learn about enrollment opportunities for special needs summer programs, camps and sports activities. You will likely find swimming classes and sports Challenger or Spirit teams that are appropriate.
- Make a list of household chores that grandchildren can assist in or accomplish alone and have rewards to give them when the tasks are complete. Make the jobs age and skill appropriate. They can help by setting the table, washing dishes, using the washing machine and dryer, folding clean laundry and putting it away, or helping you to find groceries when you shop. All of the above may challenge your patience but ultimately you will be giving them a jump-start for gaining independent living skills.
- Prepare a private, quiet space in your home where your grandchild can go to relax. Supply the area with some favorite activities.
- Additional tips and suggestions for outings with your grandchildren can be found on the GAN website here