Many parents of children with ASD tell us that they are somewhere between worried and terrified when they think of taking a vacation. If this is you, your concerns are quite natural. If new things and the unknown are a potential issue, then a week in a strange place could seem daunting. There are plenty of things that you can do in advance in order to decrease your worries/terror but what are they?
As with so many other things of the more regular challenges that you face, some advance practice will help when it comes to the real thing. But how do you practice a vacation? Let’s break it down into some of its components.
Flights. We covered some possibilities with a prior post on Practice Boarding Programs. For details of that post, click here. We are currently in touch with all of the providers of these programs and will soon be publishing an update.
Dining Out. This can sometimes be a challenge. We covered this topic a while back with a guest posting from parent coach Connie Hammer. For details of that post, click here. That was an excellent piece and would add one further suggestion. Practice by using one of the popular chain restaurants. For example, if there is an Olive Garden at your chosen destination you can be confident that it will be very similar to your local Olive Garden. Pick your own chain. We are not endorsing any particular brand.
Staying in a hotel. At its simplest, book a night at any local hotel and give it a try. If it’s local, then getting there isn’t a problem. It should also be relatively easy to find a date when their rates are lowest so that the cost is kept within bounds.
Hotels vary, of course and you could use the “chain” logic from above. Most of the big hotel chains put a lot of effort into trying to ensure that their product is consistent from location to location.
But wouldn’t it be even better if you knew in advance that the hotel was autism-friendly? Of course it would. It would be absolutely superb if you could find that autism-friendly hotel and get a really good “practice” rate, wouldn’t it? There is and we found it.
You do have a chance to do a short-stay at an autism-friendly hotel and at an exceptionally good rate.
The Crowne Plaza in Tampa, Florida has been designated Autism-friendly by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of South Florida (USF). We asked them for a very special rate for families with ASD to be able to practice and they gave us just that for the weekend of June 27th.
Since CARD have done such a great job with inspecting local businesses and training them in how to assist guests with autism, it turns out that some great local attractions have also been designated autism-friendly via their program. They include the Florida Aquarium, Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, Dinosaur World and the Glazer Children’s Museum. When we contracted each of them, they were delighted to offer special, reduced rates for anybody doing the Practice Vacation at Crowne Plaza that weekend.
Click here to take a look at all of the details. We worked on this to enable you to have the chance to practice a vacation under the best possible circumstances. If you need help getting there, contact us. We will be delighted to help you.