Young boy in wheelchair holding an ice-cream. Beside him is a woman holding an ice-cream. In the background are beach huts.

As parents, we all want our children to be the best possible person they can be. Part of their learning journey is about providing them with new experiences, places and different perspectives. Travel can be a daunting thought when we may not have stepped out of our comfort zone and travelled with our children.

Below are some ideas to consider when you are planning to travel with children with disabilities. 

Involve children in the planning stages to build their confidence. Ask for their input, and help them by providing maps and images of activities they can choose from. If you are visiting family or friends, include some portrait photos on your map so children can visualise the people and the distances.  

Practice makes perfect (or as near as life can be), so start small or with simple day trips. Plan fun days where children can practice moving their suitcases or packing and repacking them. Mary Poppins was the queen of making chores a game, and there is a lesson in this for all of us. 

Involve more than the travel agent. Talk it over with your GP or specialists who will be able to give you insights, coping strategies and supportive advice. 

Prioritize the needs of your family, because stepping outside your comfort zone will highlight all the little irregularities where meltdowns could occur. Know your family's needs, such as how much time to allocate for downtime, so members don’t become too fatigued or stressed. If regular changes of accommodation are too much to deal with, choose a central location as a 'base", or if long distances are required, have a few days stop along the way in one place, to minimize the feeling of constant disruption. 

Have an Emergency Pack. Include toys or activities to distract, medicines, spare change of clothes, wipes, spare batteries, first-aid items and simple snacks. Night lights may also be useful for children who may not like sleeping in a strange room. Keep this emergency pack in an easy to access spot. You may have heard the saying "better safe than sorry". 

Be kind to yourself and each other, most of all, enjoy and learn from the experience.

“A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new.”  Albert Einstein. 


This article was originally published in the Newsletter of IDEAS Sep Oct 2019 edition. Download a copy below to read more great info! IDEAS does information so you can do life.

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Download: pdfNewsletter of IDEAS Sep Oct 2019