Bloggy Moms

Monday, July 13, 2015

5 Ways to Ease A Travel Wary Special Needs Family's Soul

Recently my daughter and I took a trip to visit a childhood friend of mine and her family. After reconnecting with my friend via Facebook, I was eager to take Princess up the coast of California to experience sights that she'd never seen before. Princess has Bipolar Disorder and is on the edge of the Autism Spectrum so traveling with her, and life in general, is tricky at best. The lengths at which my friend went to ensure that my daughter and I had a memorable experience, were mind boggling. Keep in mind that up until March of this year my friend and I had not seen each other in over 20 years.

Without further ado I present to you 5 ways to ease a travel wary special needs family's soul:
1) If their child is a picky eater, ask ahead of time what foods their child likes. Then stock your refrigerator and pantry with those foods.
Our host family is vegetarian. I'm not going to lie. It was challenging for my child to adapt to this way of eating, but this family went the extra mile to help my daughter enjoy meal times.

Princess sampling homemade Mac N Cheese Pizza.

2) Create places in your house where the child can have down time.
Our hostess created an art nook complete with all of the necessary art supplies where Princess could express herself artistically. She also brought out some of her daughters' toys that they had out grown. My daughter was in heaven using her imagination.

Our host family's cat, Velcro, as painted by Princess.

A family eating supper as depicted by Princess using our host family's doll house accessories.

3) Speaking of down time, be sure to allow for plenty of it. Many special needs kids require lots of it. When they are on vacation, they may need more than the average child.

Princess enjoying some downtime with Deja, the foster cat.

4) Plan activities that are tailored around the special needs child's interests. My friend took us to see the giant redwoods, to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and the beach. All things that my daughter adored.

Look at me! I didn't think I could climb on this giant redwood but I did.

 Princess enjoying one of the many tanks at the aquarium.

Princess hard at work building her first ever sandcastle.

5.) There's always time to make new friends.
The daughter of our host family is best friends with a teenager with younger siblings. Our hostess arranged a play date for all of these children at a local park. Princess was in heaven.

Princess and two of her new friends.

Above all have fun and enjoy the experience!

Princess is on the steps of our host family's abode. If you look carefully, you can see Velcro aka the photobombing cat.

I will close by adding that this is the first road trip that Princess and I have ever taken. May it be the first of many. Special thanks to friends who treat us like family.

* You can also be found us on Facebook at Raising a Drama Queen: Musings and Insights in Bipolar Land.

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