This episode earns a rating of DD. That is, "Dynamic Duo", "Determined Dames" or simply "Dina and Dee"! These two ladies joined the podcast to offer insights, suggestions and encouragement for persons who travel or want to travel with their autistic children. I hope these ladies are two new resources for you. All resources mentioned are below in the show notes!
This episode is also for the rest of us who don't travel or live with autistic persons. We too will engage with them and need a little insight on how to be supportive. My hopes are that these conversations can give us a glimpse into a caregiver's experience.
Today we ask the question, "Where can I travel with my autistic child?". Spoiler alert – IT'S EVERYWHERE! Dina Farmer, Certified Autism Travel Professional (CATP), is positive you can fullfill your family's travel dreams and bring your autistic child with you. She travels frequently with her own autistic child. Enabling him to travel and thrive in new environments motivated her to get her CATP certification. The autism community is underserved and Dina is committed to guiding families in the travel planning process. In addition to working with these families Dina offers travel planning to families with other medical needs such as diabetes. She really offers some great tips and resources to keep things smooth, uneventful and enjoyable for these types of travelers. More and more the travel industry is making step to be inclusive and Dee is keeping tabs!
I asked Dee Nix, Autism Champions, to help guide me in a conversation about encountering public autism meltdowns and how we should react. Should I look away? Engage? Smile? Our conversation was candid and really helped me personally build a mental checklist of how I might offer support to a family in need. We also discussed airports with designated low stimulations zones and airline employee trainings. Dee offers some suggestions on how airlines might train employees better in the future.
A recurring theme between both interviews is that, "What works in your home, will work while traveling…" Take your fiddle toys and ear muffs. We get it and support it. Secondly, as an observe, don't judge the situation. Don't throw a shady glance or comment. Just know that you don't know the whole story. The other piece of advice both guests mentioned, one in practice and one in guidance – tell staff upfront. No matter where you are going, airline, amusement park, etc, tell them. They might have resources already in place for you!
Comments, additional resources? Feel free to share and contact Dina and Dee. Their pictures are at the top of this article and you can find all their contact details under their guest profiles.
I hope you enjoyed this episode of Travel Radio Pocast. It's my hopes that you enjoyed it so much that you will recommend it and share it with a friend. If you have a moment, please subscribe/review Travel Radio Podcast wherever you are listening from. Then, hijack all your friends, family and acquaintances phones and do the same.
If you found your next trip, a travel professional to work with or a useful tip please be in touch. I would love to hear about it.
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Blessings to you!
Host Travel Radio Podcast
Special Guests: Dee Nix and Dina Farmer.