Planning a skiing holiday is exciting. However, if you have a child or other relative with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) a trip away may involve extra organising and preparation. This guide will help you prepare.
The word 'child' is used throughout this section, but the information provided may also be applicable to adults.
Once you have decided on a holiday with Skiing4all, it is advisable to tell your child about the trip. Individuals on the autistic spectrum find change difficult, and this may lead to high anxiety and possible challenging behaviour. However, by preparing your child as much as possible, any fears will hopefully be kept to a minimum.
You could compile a booklet about the holiday, including pictures from our website gallery. These visual supports will help your child to understand where they are going and what it will be like when they are there. However, be careful if your child's understanding is very literal, as they may be upset if the exact setup is not the same as the pictures in their booklet.
You could create a timetable of what you will be doing on each day. You could start with the times that you will have breakfast and dinner and add information about our daily program activities available from our Free resources for children with special needs. How structured this timetable needs to be will depend on your child and how much they rely on routine. Design the timetable according to your child's needs. You may need to be quite detailed: describing what activities you will be doing every day. Alternatively, your child may be happy with: 'explore the resort on the first evening’, 'go skiing' on the second day and so on. Sticking to some sort of routine each day should benefit everyone.
If your child has not travelled on a plane before, or you are going from a new airport, or on a bigger/smaller plane, you may like to visit the airport before you go on holiday. This will help your child to understand what the airport is like, as well as allowing them to experience the journey to the airport before you go. You could contact the airline directly, and explain to them that your child has an ASD. You may need to provide some general information about the condition, as well as some details on your child's particular needs and habits. This will help the airline staff to support your family. For example, you may want to explain if your child hand-flaps.
Many airlines/airports are able to organise tours around an aircraft or on a simulator to help people with disabilities or those who might be nervous about flying. This may benefit your child as it provides some impression of what being in an aircraft might be like.