Philadelphia children with autism practice traveling on ‘mock’ flights

At 8 p.m. Saturday, Southwest Airlines Flight 2149 was poised to push back from the gate. Flight attendants gave fasten-seat-belt instructions, and First Officer Peter Hayes announced, “There’s 25 minutes of flight time until we touch down in Philadelphia.”

Capt. Todd Siems said the Boeing airliner was cruising at 37,000 feet. And after he turned off the seat-belt sign, the young passengers were served complimentary Sprite, cranberry-apple juice, and airplane-shaped crackers.

Flight 2149 never left the gate at Philadelphia International Airport, though. It was no ordinary flight, but rather a practice for children with autism and their families to become familiar with travel at the airport – bags, getting boarding passes, going through security, waiting at the gate, and sitting on the plane to experience the lights and sounds.

via Children with autism practice traveling on ‘mock’ flights | Philadelphia Inquirer | 11/16/2010.

Tampa, Florida, hotel designated ‘autism-friendly’

The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida has designated the Wyndham Tampa Westshore an “autism-friendly” hotel.

The 272-room property became the Tampa Bay area’s first “autism-friendly” hotel after CARD-USF provided sensitivity training to Wyndham staff members, a news release said.

The designation will include ongoing training.

via Wyndham Tampa Westshore designated ‘autism-friendly’ – Tampa Bay Business Journal.

Autism in Summer: Travel Tips

Any family vacation takes some planning. Planning is especially important when you are traveling with an autistic child.

Here are some Summer Travel Tips for Families Living with Autism from the Autism Society of America.

An autism dad  whose been there has advice on vacationing with an autistic child.

Both these posts have something in common – they recommend calling ahead, so do your research!

Recently, two  hotels opened rooms designed specifically for families with autistic children. The Clinton Inn Hotel in Tenafly, N.J., and a Wyndham hotel in Austin, Texas, both have features designed to make families with autistic children safe and comfortable. Let’s hope that trend catches on!

Do you have any summer vacation plans with your autistic child? Any tips to share on making travel easier with a child with autism? Please share!

via Autism Society of America: Summer Tips.

Texas hotel offers autism-aware rooms

A Wyndham hotel has started catering to families traveling with autistic children, making it one of the few in the USA but an early adopter in what may be a growing trend.

The Wyndham Garden Hotel in Austin, Texas, two months ago opened five specially equipped, “Thoughtful rooms” designed to make stays less stressful for families with autistic children. A door alarm, for instance, alerts adults when the door is opening, which could prevent a child from quietly opening the door and wandering out of the room.

via Wyndham hotel in Austin offers autism-aware rooms –

Traveling with an Alzheimer’s patient

Here’s some great advice from Alzlibrary’s Blog on traveling with an Alzheimer’s patient. You may think it goes without saying, but we see news stories far too often about people getting lost while traveling: No one with a cognitive deficit should travel alone. There are some other good practical tips here, so if you are wondering if your loved one (or you!) are up to a trip – read on:

Caregivers often ask if an Alzheimer’s patient can travel — to go on vacation, to attend a family gathering, or to relocate. If your loved one is still in the earlier stages, the two of you may still be able to enjoy traveling together, but you will need to take some basic precautions. Whether the trip will be a success depends on the patient himself — how far his Alzheimer’s has progressed, and how easily he becomes agitated or anxious — and on how well the caregiver plans ahead.

via Traveling with an Alzheimer’s Patient « Alzlibrary’s Blog.

Vacations for families with special-needs kids

Families helping families. Nobody understands the special journey of parents raising children with special needs as well as other parents just like them.

That’s why some of the best new travel options for families with special-needs kids have been developed by families who want to make that life easier for others.

The options are increasing for all ages, even at mainstream venues from Disney to Universal and Six Flags to the Schlitterbahn water parks.

Special-needs families preferring to vacation close to home will find local organizations such as the Dallas Museum of Art offering Autism Awareness Family Celebration days, and the Studio Movie Grill and AMC Theaters offering monthly screenings that accommodate kids with special needs.

via Vacation opportunities for families with special-needs kids | News for Dallas, Texas | Dallas Morning News | Travel | Dallas Morning News.

Air Travel for Children with Autism

The airport, and air travel can be intimidating for passengers. When you think then of the sensory sensitivities that a child with autism has, air travel can be an incredible challenge – the scanners, the bright lights, the loud announcements and the unfamiliarity of it all.

So many families are touched by autism, and sadly there have been stories in the past where a child with autism was denied boarding, or mistreated, or stared at because of behavior that may have been misunderstood. And so it was with great interest that I heard about the Airport Awareness program developed by Manchester Airport UK for children with autism. Practical and free, it could really be used for any airport experience.

via Air Travel for Children with Autism.

Room For Special Kids: Hotel Offers A Suite With Autism In Mind

TENAFLY, N.J. —All the glassware in the Alpine Suite at the Clinton Inn Hotel in Tenafly is unbreakable — the wine glasses, the water tumblers, even the glass in the cabinet doors.

The furniture has rounded corners with soft bumpers. A round table has replaced a square one. Flower vases and other decor have been glued down. The iron is stored behind a safety lock and the windows are locked. The television is fixed securely to the wall, instead of sitting on a credenza, as in other guest rooms.

Everything in the suite has been designed to give peace of mind to guests who have children with autism.

via Room For Special Kids: Hotel Offers A Suite With Autism In Mind | Travel | Wichita Eagle.

10 Tips for Taking Your Autistic Child to Disney World

1. Know your Child! Then do your homework with a website like or the Disney Moms’ Panel, or books like PassPorter’s Open Mouse for Walt Disney World and the Disney Cruise Line, which examines all the parks and Disney resorts in detail to explain potential trouble spots based on a number of criteria such as noise, wait times, crowded spaces, etc. If you know your child doesn’t like rides with a lot of dark spaces, or enclosed waiting areas where things echo, or the possibility of having to share space with strangers—here’s where you’ll find the answers.

via 10 Tips for Taking Your Autistic Child to Disney World | The Autism News.