Spring Break Roadtrip

A small group of parents of youngsters with autism requested some ideas for family spring break activities. The youngsters, from 7 to 12 years old, spanned a broad range of abilities and disabilities. “We want to do something special to celebrate the holiday, but our work schedules keep us from taking long trips. We need ideas that don’t stretch our family budgets or our time too thin.”


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SOME IDEAS. Spring Break – usually a week-long event – can be a challenge for any family with school-aged children. But, if the adventure is presented in a creative way, it can be fun for everyone. No need to make it difficult. Remember, simple is good.

So, here’s one idea to get your creative juices flowing. How about taking a “GREAT SPRING BREAK ROAD TRIP” Here’s the plan: + Gather your child with autism as well as other family members or friends around the kitchen table with a local map.+ Work together to draw out a route to explore some country roads nearby. + When you are ready to start your adventure, pack up some healthy snacks and water bottles. + Take a pair of inexpensive binoculars for each youngster. + Don’t forget to take your camera. + Load up the car (don’t forget the map!) + Take off and enjoy the ride!
+ Let your youngster with autism sit in the front passenger seat and, if she is able, let her be the navigator. + Take a picture of the whole crowd (holding the map) at each of the key points marked on the map. + Stop at safe lookout points and encourage youngsters to look at scenery, airplanes, or wildflowers through binoculars. + Stop someplace along the way for a special treat that fits in the budget and meets dietary restrictions. Sometimes a local dairy will have homemade cheese or a country produce stand will have fresh-picked berries or homemade honey. + If your youngster with autism is able to do so, have him keep a scorecard of the number of cows or the number of 18-wheeler trucks or the number of motorcycles you pass. + If you go on a longer trip, you can play the alphabet game by finding words that start with consecutive letters of the alphabet on roadside signs. + You can sing rowdy verses of “She’ll Be Coming Round the Mountain” while traveling down the road. + The idea is to encourage interaction between fellow travelers and to encourage everyone to pay attention to the passing scenery.

Remember, your roadtrip does not need to be complicated or long. Even a 30 minute drive can be an adventure – just drive down to the shore of a local lake or river or drive down a country road you’ve never seen before.

NOTE TO LISTENERS AND READERS: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. You can click on a button to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solutions. Check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. www.FAQautism.com

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