Traveling with children is a challenge. Lots of bathroom stops, boredom, motion sickness, and tantrums. For parents on the spectrum, the challenge goes to a whole new level.
Sensory overload, closed spaces, constant movement, and disrupted schedules can cause autistic children to feel stressed and dizzy.
Today, we will share with you a few tips that will help you combat motion sickness and overall improve the traveling experience for ASD children.
Motion Sickness and Autism
Children with autism are more prone to motion sickness. This can be traced back to the vestibular system.
The vestibular system is located in the eyes and inner ears and regulates our sense of balance. In children with autism, the vestibular system presents a different response to stimuli. This is translated in the eyes not registering the movement, but the inner ears doing so. Thus, causing sensory conflict AKA motion sickness constantly.
What Can I Do To Ease Motion Sickness in Autism?
Traveling long distances can be stressful for anybody. Here is a checklist of things that you can consider before hitting the road with ASD children!
Wellness Window: The wellness window is the time limit where your child can travel at his/her best. For many children this can be 50 minutes, for others 30 minutes, it depends. Trying to identify your child’s window will help you take bathroom stops, and necessary breaks to avoid meltdowns.
Smells, Better Not: Skip smelly tuna sandwiches, air fresheners, strong lotions, or anything with a strong fragrance. If possible, invite other passengers to skip perfume that day too.
Cover Up: Protect your upholstery with old bedsheets, or disposable table cloths.
Pj´s All The Way: Ensure your child’s comfort by allowing him/her to wear his/her favorite pajamas or the most comfortable clothes he/she has.
Frontal Views: When you travel in the backseat, lights can be overwhelming. Try blocking the side windows to help your child focus only on the front views. This provides a more steady image, which prevents children from getting dizzy.
Movies On: Make sure to download your child’s favorite movie/tv program on your Tablet/Ipad. Then place the Ipad on the back part of the front seat. This will force children to look straight ahead and not down if having the tablet on their lap.
Friendly Meal: Eat a light/non-spicy meal at least 2 hours before the road.
Headphones: If your child is used to take a nap at a specific time, make sure to protect his/her sleep with noise-canceling headphones.
Motion Sickness Band: These acupressure wristbands are reusable and inexpensive, so they’re another budget-friendly, drug-free motion sickness remedy. These bands are adjustable and waterproof, so kids can leave them on for the entire vacation without having to remove them for the pool or tub.
Additional Tools: Have at hand a bottle of water, a plastic container, a sugar-free candy, healthy snacks, baby wipes, and an additional shirt for clothes change.
Remember, vacations are a beautiful time to build great memories that will last a lifetime. Do not worry if some things don’t go as planned, but focus on the incredible things that this can mean for your child and celebrate the present moment.
At WSCC, we offer support for autistic families and their children with Stem Cell Therapy treatments that can transform autistic conditions by healing the gut, decreasing inflammation, and improving brain function. We also created an on Facebook that is destined to offer support and companionship for ASD parents and their families on their journey.
Remember, you are not alone!