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Preparing for Outings

As a parent, you know your child best. You also know, probably all too well, that public outings can sometimes be stressful on everyone! Here are some ideas from other parents on planning for outings:

  • Prepare Your Child. Try to give your child as much advance notice as possible to let him know what to expect. What will be happening?
    • Show some pictures of where you will be and what, specifically, you will be doing.
    • Repeat the information as much as possible—just before setting off, on the way there, and upon arrival.
    • You can make a visual schedule with simple pictures that represent, for instance, suitcase, car, grandma’s house, cousins, dinner, and home again.
  • Pack Your Bags. Like many children, your child might have a favorite toy or blanket that is soothing to her. Take it with you to help her feel comforted.
  • Really Research. Many venues have special passes for children with autism or other special needs. Call ahead to find out how you might be accommodated. If possible, look for quiet places in which your child can decompress and recharge, so you can all stay longer—and have more fun!
  • Time to Go. In an event at which you’ll be seated, plan to be on an aisle, in the back, or somewhere where there’s an easy exit, in case your child needs to take a break or leave early. If you’re driving, park as close to your destination as you can. Some parents recommend leaving when problems begin, so you can end on a relatively positive note.