Embracing Travel with Special Needs

written by Nick Pasolini, Certified Autism Travel Professional

Traveling with children of any age can be super stressful – both for you as an adult and for your child.  The stress begins with planning and booking the trip and continues with working out all the small details.  Even though all your preparations are done and you’re all packed, are you really done?  Nope.  Now you need to get to the airport, get checked in, go through TSA, get on and off the plane, get transportation to the resort….  Wow!  Stressed out yet?  

Imagine this process as a family that has a child with autism, special needs or a disability.  This would just add to the anxiety of wanting to travel.  Ask yourself – ‘Are there ways to make this process easier for my family?  Are there travel professionals that are specialists in this?’  The answer to these questions is ‘Yes!’

Hi!  My name is Nick and I am a Certified Autism Travel Professional.  I am one of four agents currently from Wish Upon a Star With Us that carries this certification.  The CATP certification is a program that is being run and sponsored by the IBCCES (International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards) – a leading institution for professionals that work with individuals that have special needs and cognitive disorders.

So how can we help you make your planning and travel process as easy as possible?  As agents, we take into account each family’s needs.  We want to be able to plan the most memorable and magical vacation for your family, so we try to get to know your family as personally as possible to be on the same page in all aspects of your vacation.  The better we get to know your family, the better able we’ll be to advise you of the easiest solution to problems that may arise.  We take into account all possible sensory hazards – from touch, taste and sound to smell and sight. 

Would the noise of an airplane possibly cause a sensory overload?  Then we would suggest that you have noise cancelling headphones with you.  These would also come in handy for fireworks, parades and other loud noises.  

We can help suggest fun activities for you to carry on the airplane.  TSA has a program –  TSA Cares – that is set up to provide for all travelers with disabilities.  We’ll guide you through that process.  Maybe you feel as if getting on and off the airplane could be a possible stress area.  We can reach out to your airline and TSA to set up a mock process that walks you and your family through the process so you can see how it works and see how safe it is.

This is just a small sample of what we, as Certified Autism Travel Professionals, can do to help.  We’ll guide you and your child throughout the booking and travel process to get through possible sensory overload situations.

Working with agents from Wish Upon a Star With Us already provides you with top notch personalized training from some amazing top notch professionals.  But as Certified Autism Travel Professionals, you’re getting an extra edge added – working with an agent specialized in meeting your family’s unique needs to help better serve you and plan your magical dream vacations.