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Traveling With Your Child Who's On The Spectrum? How To Calm Them For The Shuttle Ride

by Jose Williamson

If you have a child on the autism spectrum, travel can be difficult, especially the first few times. The unfamiliar sounds, sights, and smells can cause a meltdown of epic proportions. You may try to limit the amount of traveling you do with your child, but that's not always possible, especially during the holidays. If you're going to be flying with your child this holiday, take some time to prepare for the journey. The first thing you'll need to plan for is the shuttle ride. Here are four simple steps you can take to prepare your child for a ride on the airport shuttle.

Rehearse the Procedures

Children who are on the spectrum often have trouble with new situations. If your child has never been on an airport shuttle before, it's a good idea to spend some time rehearsing the procedures. One way to do that is by watching a few videos showing people waiting in line to board a shuttle or bus. Another way is to sit down and talk to your child about some of the things they might hear and see on the shuttle. Familiarizing your child with the new situation may help them adjust to the situation a bit easier.

Keep the Noise Blocked Out

Loud noises and confusion can cause severe distress for children who are on the spectrum. If your child is affected by loud noises, it's a good idea to keep those noises blocked out. If your child will use earbuds to listen to music, give them a tablet to use while you're waiting in line for the shuttle, as well as during the ride. You can also use a pair of noise-reducing headphones for the trip.

Bring a Familiar Distraction

If your child has a favorite item that they cling to in stressful situations, be sure to bring that with you. Bringing a familiar distraction can help calm your child down while you're riding the shuttle. If your child has several items that they are attached to, try to bring a few of them with you. That way you have an alternate in case the first option just doesn't cut it on this trip.

Give Yourself Some Extra Time

You never know when you're going to be greeted by an absolute refusal. If that happens, and you're not prepared, you could end up missing your flight. To avoid that type of dilemma, be sure to give yourself some extra time. Get to the airport early enough to make several attempts at boarding the shuttle, in case the first attempt is unsuccessful. The added time will also give you the opportunity to let your child observe the situation for a few minutes. This may calm their nerves and help them prepare themselves for the ride. 

To learn more about shuttle services, contact a company like Oak City Shuttle.