Easy-to-Use Calming Strategies for Autism



How to Take an Autistic Child to Disneyland

Steps

  1. Tell the child weeks in advance.There are a series of online videos where parents will spring the surprise on their children while en route to Disneyland or Disney World. This can be jarring for an autistic child. Autistic children often take comfort in routine and being able to expect what will happen. A sudden change in plans could cause them great stress, even a meltdown.
    • Consider keeping a countdown to the trip on the refrigerator or in the child's room. That way the trip won't "sneak up" on them by seeming like a vague point in the distant future.
  2. Give them an idea of what to expect.Create a general schedule/calendar of your plans: leaving at 9:00 AM on Friday, arriving around 1:00 PM, and so on. Tell them about what kind of rides and attractions there will be and let them think about what they would like to try. Also tell them there will probably be long lines and a lot of walking involved. Show them some videos of the park (notcommercials; they're highly idealized!) and pictures of the hotel you'll be staying at.
    • Consider making a picture schedule of your travel days so they can follow along with the different routine.
  3. Think of what coping tools you should bring.Your autistic child will probably need some extra items to get through the trip comfortably. Some ideas are below:
    • Sunglasses (a good idea for anyone, actually)
    • Ear plugs or protective ear muffs (in case the noise overwhelms them)
    • A floppy hat to block sensory input and hot sun
    • A fold-up camping chair (for long waits in line)
    • An iPod or MP3 player (if music comforts them)
    • A favorite toy
    • A book (or multiple books!)
    • A cell phone or tablet with games
  4. Find quieter, isolated places around the park in advance.Many autistic people need to take breaks from highly stimulating situations to "recharge" or just relax a little. Identify such places before the need arises.
  5. Designate some signals between the two of you.Figure out some word, phrase, or gesture the autistic child can use to get your attention and indicate that they are feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed. It could be a tap on the shoulder, "too much," "I need a break," or anything similar.
  6. Emphasize the need to stay together.Autistic children like to wander when they see things that interest them, and if they get overwhelmed, they may have trouble keeping up. Talk to your child beforehand to explain that they need to stay with you, and if they want to go somewhere, they need to tell you so that you can go there with them.
    • If your child is anxious about getting lost, tie a string to your backpack and make a loop on the end. They can slip their hand into the loop to stay attached to you.
  7. Know when enough is enough.If the child is looking miserable, saying they're tired, or doesn't want to get on a ride, don't force them to keep going. This may lead to a meltdown. Even if it doesn't, it won't lead to any happy memories on the part of the child. And certainly don't force them to go up to a costumed character if they're clearly afraid of them!
  8. Make sure they get to do things they want to do.For any kid, nothing is worse than leaving a park without going on that one ride they intensely wanted to go on. Allow the child some say in what rides you go on, what games you play, and what foods you get. An amusement park is about fun, after all!





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Date: 05.12.2018, 16:55 / Views: 55262