Traveling with Autism
Whenever you go on a trip, think about/ plan an exit strategy if things go south.
Beware of Laws in other States and CountriesTraveling with a child with disabilities over country or state lines can bring legal risks that you may not think of. An example, Thomas likes to go on trips and we used to go on trips during summer and holiday times to get through those times. One Christmas, we went to Nevada to explore some trains and caves there. Thomas likes crawling around caves. On our way back home, we stayed at a hotel located in Nevada just shy of the California border. That evening Thomas got mad at his mother and proceeded to kick out a third floor window. Down it went just missing a car in the parking lot. Thomas continued to trash the hotel room like a drunken rock star tossing furniture and trying to break mirrors. I managed to pin him down and my wife called 911. The Nevada State police came. They were very friendly and understanding. They informed us that normally with the amount of damage Thomas had done; they would take him into custody. There was also talk about him becoming a ward of the state through Child Protective Services. This part sounded like a deal to us given what we had been going through. We would have had to go through the court system in Nevada to get him back. It would have been good luck Nevada! I do not know really how much this is true but they were officers of the law. They allowed us to get out of dodge and of course, we paid the hotel for all repairs.
It does show the problem with travelling if for some reason your child runs afoul of the law. Laws in states vary in dealing with disabilities. Officers of the law vary in how they will apply the law to you. We have found law officers to be very compassionate, helpful, and reasonable. There are definitely risks when traveling with people with autism that are beyond them acting out. You could be spending a lot more time traveling and working through the court system of whatever state or country in which it happens.
TSA Screening Assistance/ TSA CaresTSA Cares is a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process.
Federal Relay: 711
Weekdays: 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET
Weekends/Holidays: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET
CruisesCruises are hard to escape from if your autistic child is not having a good time.
I was told a story from a couple with an autistic child that went on a cruise. He did some damage one night in the dining room. The cruise line wanted them to get off at some Central American port. The country's police actually met the ship at the port. The resolution was that they were confined to their cabin for the rest of the cruise until they got back to the US.
There are cruises that cater to Autism.
Idea for Informing Strangers Around You in an Enclosed SpaceOne idea that has been done with babies or autistic people when traveling on an airline is to give cards out to people around you explaining that the person you are traveling with is autistic and may exhibit certain behaviors that are beyond their control. Maybe give ear plugs if applicable.
MedicalMedicaid is a federal program run by the states. Medicaid managed care companies contract with service providers with in a small geographical area of plan participants. If you travel outside that geographical area only emergency services are covered under Medicaid.
If the disabled person is insured by private health insurance it may pay to talk to the health insurance company before traveling especially for any extended length of time.
Entertainment while TravelingHow did people survive traveling before DVD players? Other travel entertainment ideas: Kaleidoscope Stereoscope, tops, bubble games, and magic tricks. See Toys for other possible ideas.