Practice makes better.
In the last post we covered practicing going to the airport and boarding the plane. While that is important there are other things that you can practice and, therefore, improve the likely outcomes when you take a vacation. Two things stand out.
Living in a hotel is different from living at home (no matter how many house guests you have during the holidays).
When a hotel becomes certified as autism-friendly, we will publish details of an Autism Nights weekend stay at that hotel. That will be your perfect opportunity to practice staying in a hotel with your loved ones. These events have other great benefits:
- Local to you – so no long drives or flights.
- Set for quiet weekends – so less crowds.
- The whole community is invited – so there will be other special needs families there.
- Great promotional rates.
What can you do if the program isn’t offered locally to you? There are two things. First, you can ask your local autism support organization to contact us. We will help them identify a suitable location to get the program started. Secondly you can organize your own practice.
How do you do that? Each hotel chain tries to be different from all of the other chains and, therefore, has to be as similar to the other hotels in their own chain as possible. If you identify the hotel where you wish to stay for your vacation, you can then find the nearest hotel from the same chain and take a brief stay there. It will be similar. You’ll figure some dos and don’ts.
This similarity between one location and another will be even more evident in the moderate and low cost chains.
If it is difficult to dine out with your child, then dining out is another thing that will benefit from practice.
The good news here is that chains of restaurants tend to be even more uniform than chains of hotels. Put a little research into which popular chains of restaurants are open in your destination and then try dining at the nearest branch to home.
You’ll be able to see what types of seating they offer (table and chair, booth, hi-top etc.) and in what proportion. Find out if they accept reservations. Some will accept reservations even if they mainly operate on a walk-in basis. The policy should be the same regardless of location. You’ll also get the chance to see how they handle special dietary requests.
Do try a second chain if you can. That will help with generalizing to all restaurants or else let you know if that is going to be tougher than you thought.