Every parent wants their child to have a lifetime of memorable experiences, and many of these ideal experiences revolve around travel. Allowing your child to explore new places, different cultures, and the wonders of the natural world has lasting effects on their lives.
However, for parents of children with special needs, creating these experiences isn’t always easy. Careful planning and coordination need to be in place to ensure that a vacation with a special needs child goes as well as can be expected.
If you’re planning a trip to Niagara Falls with your special needs child, these are a few tips that can help you and your family have a wonderful time and make memories that will last a lifetime.
You Know Your Child Best
As the parent of a special needs child you know your child best. You know when over stimulation is an issue and you know your child’s triggers. By now you’re probably an expert on planning your child’s experiences so he or she is as comfortable as possible.
Trust your instincts and ensure that you have everything you need for an airplane journey or long car ride. Snacks, toys, tablets, and frequent breaks can make a world of difference. In fact, simply by planning as you usually would this can make your child feel at ease in his or her routine.
Investigate the Attractions Beforehand
Early preparation is one of the best ways to introduce your child to new experiences and situations, so start early. Fallsview Waterpark advises that parents of autistic children allow them to become familiar with the space before you arrive. Find Youtube videos of the slides and attractions and allow your child to view them. If any friends or acquaintances have visited the waterpark ask them to tell your child about the experience. Ensure your child knows that he or she can leave at any time if they feel uncomfortable and have an exit strategy in place.
Waterparks can be wonderful experiences for special needs children, but be sure that you have prepared your child as best you can for what the situation will look, feel, and sound like to minimize surprises.
Take Things Slowly
Vacations can feel hectic and rushed even without special needs children, so be sure to take things slowly. Don’t scurry out of bed early each morning. Instead, plan your days loosely so if changes or adjustments need to be made there’s ample room for that, and ample time for your child to become familiar with the new schedule.
Additionally, while some might see a relatively unscheduled or unplanned trip as a downfall, this can actually help your entire family enjoy the experience a bit more. Without rushing to meet tour times and waiting in long lines, you’ll have a bit more time to connect as a family, and that’s what family vacations are really all about.
Niagara Falls is the perfect family vacation destination, and this is true for all types of families. Plan ahead, take things slowly, and enjoy the ride.