Here is my interview with a very special Mom, with two special needs children and her thoughts on traveling and vacation. It is not just about planning a trip to Disney, but any travel. Lacey Lautenschlager is an amazing person! I really admire her for all she accomplishes for herself and more so for her family.
1-What is your biggest challenge for family travel?
My biggest challenge is making my daughter feel safe & comfortable. She has sensory issues & is very affected by lights, sound, crowds & new environments. This often results in a meltdown…screaming, dropping to the floor, running away.
2-What is your first thought when you think of family travel?
3-Do you have any additional assistance or help you enlist for travel?
We do have help available with our Respite & Community Habilitation Workers, however, it can be difficult to schedule them to travel with us.
4-What do you like best for family travel?
Locations that are 2-3 hours away with activities that my daughter can participate in…playground, swimming, plenty of areas for her to walk around & explore.
5-Do you use a checklist for packing?
Always! Having a child with a medical condition & still in diapers, makes packing extra challenging. It is so important to make sure we have everything & EXTRA of everything.
6-Do you have a go to app or website for travel?
7-Do you use a travel agent? If no, what do you use?
8-What 3 things (words of wisdom) would you give to other special needs Mom’s?
Don’t stress about the small things…if you forget something that isn’t all that important, go buy it at a local store or go without it if you can. In the grand scheme of things, it’s really not a big deal.
Don’t expect your child to participate in the vacation like everyone else does. Prepare yourself ahead of time that they may need more down time & time to decompress, time away from the crowds. It’s ok if everyone isn’t doing everything together the entire time. Give your child the time they need. It will be beneficial for everyone on the trip.
Accept the fact that your vacation may be different from what you expected & that’s not always a bad thing. Sometimes I think our expectations can set us up for disappointment & we can wind up having a miserable time. It’s important for your child to have what they need to feel comfortable, safe & happy. As a result, this will help everyone have a fun time on vacation.
9-Do you have any websites you would recommend for traveling with children with special needs?
Next week I will touch on several of these concerns. Thank you and remember, EVERYONE deserves at great time at Disney or wherever your travels take you!!