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Unlocking New Horizons: Traveling for Families with Autism

Updated: Sep 26, 2023

Did you know that less than 87% of families with autistic children embark on travel journeys? We're here to transform that statistic and open the door to a world of travel opportunities! Why travel, you may wonder? It's akin to a delightful global buffet for your senses, a feast of growth and joy for individuals with autism.

Travel isn't merely a change of scenery; it's an educational and enriching experience for everyone involved. It offers substantial potential for personal development and enjoyment, particularly for those within the autism spectrum. Think of it as an extraordinary crash course in "Mastering the Art of Travel and Thriving."

However, with every great adventure comes the 'how' - the nitty-gritty details. How does one navigate a bustling airport seamlessly? How do we choose destinations that align with our family's sensory comfort zones? What's the game plan if our child faces a challenging moment, perhaps in the middle of a museum visit? The answers lie in a well-orchestrated travel plan put together by a Certified Autism Travel Professional (CATP).

 A CATP plays a vital role in enhancing family travel experiences for individuals with autism and their families. Here's a detailed explanation of what a CATP can do to make travel more enjoyable and manageable for families:

Understanding Autism Needs and Preferences

CATPs undergo specialized training to understand the unique needs, preferences, and challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum. They learn about sensory sensitivities, communication differences, anxiety triggers, and other factors that might affect travel experiences.

Tailored Travel Plans

 A CATP can design customized travel itineraries that consider the specific needs and interests of the individual with autism. This includes selecting destinations, accommodations, activities, and transportation options that align with their sensory preferences and routines.

Sensory-Friendly Accommodations

 CATPs can recommend and arrange accommodations that are sensory-friendly, considering factors such as noise levels, lighting, bedding preferences, and accessibility to quiet spaces. They can also liaise with hotels to ensure necessary accommodations, such as quiet rooms or rooms away from elevators.

Airport and Transportation Assistance

 Traveling can be overwhelming for individuals with autism, especially at busy airports or during long flights. CATPs can provide guidance on navigating airports, assist with pre-boarding arrangements, and coordinate with airlines to accommodate specific sensory needs during the journey.

Communication and Social Skills Preparation

   A CATP can provide advice and strategies to improve communication and social interactions during travel. At Divergent Adventures we have developed pre-travel training sessions for both the individual with autism and their family members, that focus on communication techniques and social skills that can be utilized during the trip.

Autism-Friendly Activity and Excursion Recommendations

CATPs meticulously select activities and excursions that resonate with the individual's specific interests and sensory sensitivities. Their recommendations prioritize quieter, less crowded places, and engagements that offer a comfortable and engaging experience. This includes visits to parks, museums with sensory-friendly exhibits, nature trails, or guided tours in smaller groups to enhance the overall journey.

Collaboration with Travel Service Providers for Enhanced Support

CATPs work closely with various travel service providers, including tour operators, attractions, and restaurants, to ensure these entities are well-informed about and ready to accommodate the needs of individuals with autism. This collaboration involves providing comprehensive guidelines and specialized training to staff. By doing so, they cultivate an inclusive and empathetic environment that aligns with the individual's comfort, ensuring a more enjoyable travel experience.

In summary, a Certified Autism Travel Professional uses their specialized knowledge to create a more inclusive and enjoyable travel experience for families with individuals on the autism spectrum. They work to reduce potential stressors and ensure that the travel journey is as comfortable and accommodating as possible for everyone involved.

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