One thing that we have I would almost say instilled in our children from birth is a love of traveling. Both short and long distance travel. Both of our older children, have travelled by train for a two day trip from Toronto home to NB. Our original up to Toronto with our eldest daughter, was by car. We spent the first few years of our married life travelling from one city to another depending on our whims. Our long term goal was to determine where we would most prefer to spend our life. Our youngest child has not had more then 4 or 5 hour trips, but even she seems to have taken to travelling.
This in and of itself is good, because for our autistic son, some of the most settled times he has is when he is in the car. There does appear to be an adjustment period when we trade in our vehicles. However in general in the car he will sit for hours and play on his Leapster game system. These game systems are a great invention that almost feels like they were created with autistic children in mind. This game system has been one of the best tools to determine how fast his mind works. It has also proven useful in determining what his abilities are.
Driving time because of this is generally quiet and enjoyable. It does not seem to matter if it is a shopping trip or a trip to an out of town spot for some fun time. We find in general our son eats better in the car then at home, and he is significantly less agressive. In general he seems to enjoy the travel, and usually the destination, better then any normal routine things like home or school.
Traveling With An Autistic Child
Destinations appear to be of no concern. He appears to enjoy driving for the sake of driving, which allows even more relaxation time.
We have found that as he gets older he is less likely to fall asleep in the car. This was not always the case, but now it is rare that we will find our son asleep at the end of a trip. The only real exceptions being if it is an extremely long day, or quite warm.
I have found that even at our destination our son is significantly less likely to strike out, then while at home. I don’t have an explanation for this. However it does appear that his striking out is reserved for people who he is around a lot of the time. This tends to include classmates, TA’s, and family. The majority of it seems to be going to his TAs, and us, as his parents. We have yet to see a serious attempt to strike the baby. There has been only one minor incident, which appears to be to be completely accidental.
In general, we have found that it is best to take him on at least short trips as often as possible. This gives him as much quiet time as possible. I do recommend at least an attempt to see if this helps others. I do not swear it will help in every case as each autistic child that I have come met, I have found to be unique.