A child who cannot handle too much stimulation at one time can still experience excitement with other family members on many types of trips. Amusement parks are just one type of an experience. Families with an autistic child have explored and enjoyed other types of places and activities that are exciting and fascinating, especially to an autistic child.
Taking a cruise has never been a better destination choice for children on the autism spectrum. Autism on the Seas has been dedicated to ensuring that travelers with autism do not miss out on adventures at sea. Since 2007, Autism on the Seas, AotS for short, has worked alongside Royal Caribbean International to assist families with an autistic member. AotS either provides an on-ship staff to a family with special needs for an additional cost listed on their website; or, they offer their Autism Cruise Assistance Package at no cost but with exceptional accommodations: a cruise social story, priority boarding and disembarking, medical doctors, and more. Cruise lines that offer the Autism Cruise Assistance Package are Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Carnival, Disney, NCL, and Princess. Autism Adventure Travel by Peeks Cruises & Tours is another cruise line committed to special needs travelers.
At Great Wolf Lodge, families can revel in the best of both worlds: water and land. This waterpark and imaginative lodge has eleven spread out locations and does not only adhere to the ADA, but their chefs can reportedly cook up a dish – even if they have to make one up – for any special diet. The suites at Great Wolf Lodge make even sleeping an adventure. Families can stay in wolf caves, log cabins, or a regular room. All children can have fun sleeping in rooms painted with vivid outdoor scenes as though they were out in the wild. What might be of particular interest is the “live-action adventure game” where kids can fight a dragon wielding a “wand.” This is moving video games to the next level.
Zoos, museums, botanical gardens and aquariums are all good options for a fun-packed vacations for families with special needs children. Dallas, Texas is one city, of many, with all three features. The Perot Science Center in Dallas combines fun and education, plus exposure to thrilling sites and facts that may delight the whole family, especially the child with autism. The Dallas Zoo is the largest in Texas and the 2013 winner of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. It features the Giants of the Savanna, a single habitat shared by elephants, zebras, giraffes, impalas, ostriches, and guinea fowl. A nice trip to the zoo can also mean a nice ride on a camel. While a little challenging for some, it certainly provides a high point for a vacation. For a change of scenery, the Dallas Arboretum is blooming with all kinds of colorful and aromatic flowers, shrubs, and plants. A stroll through is not just a walk in a glorified backyard garden; the Arboretum also hosts concerts and art shows, and offers dining on location.
Deciding on any of these destinations will make the familiarization process with the autistic child a precursor to the fun that awaits the whole family.
In tomorrow’s concluding article, we will look at some of the more affordable and cost-effective solutions for families on a budget.