When venturing out with your child on the spectrum, it's nice to know that some destinations are not only autism-friendly, but autism welcoming! The below destinations go above and beyond with special staff training and excellent accommodation of special requests for everything from low sensory experiences to special safety packs that help ease some of the worry of bringing your special-needs child on vacation.
Located in in St. Petersburg, Florida, this is a great vacation destination for families with children on the autism spectrum. Staff members continue to receive specialized training in autism awareness and even offer Safety Kits with door alarms, outlet covers, temporary tattoos with room numbers on them, and other items that can ease your stay. You’ll even receive a wait-free check in. The resort offers a plethora of family-friendly amenities and activities that include an amazing water park, excellent restaurants with special dietary requests, a swashbuckling pirate show, plenty of beach access, parasailing, and dolphin-spotting cruises.
At Sesame Place, they “See Amazing in All Children.” This theme park in Langhorne, Pennsylvania is the first theme park to be designated as a Certified Autism Center so you can feel especially comfortable in bringing any child here. Training for their entire staff focuses on sensory awareness, motor skills, autism overview, program development, social skills, communication, environment, and emotional awareness. The park has everything from great shows to water parks to traditional rides - they have a little of it all around every corner so you can definitely find ways to fill the day with amazing experiences. They pride themselves on being completely accessible and make special accommodations upon request. You can even have dinner with Elmo!
This ranch appears to be more resort than down home on the range and is located in beautiful Granby, Colorado. Children with autism will love taking part in the many camps and programs designed especially for them, including the program highlight of therapeutic horseback riding. Let your little explorers imagination run wild as they hang with huskies, learn about the great outdoors, and even build forts with their new friends. This ranch has traditional cowboy style cooking but they make dietary adjustments easily. Little cowboys and cowgirls are sure to remember their time under the stars for a camping experience or even spending the day in the forest looking for bugs!
All autism-friendly vacation destinations do their best to meet the needs of your family Make sure to call ahead with an special requests to give them time to accommodate your needs and spread the word if you have a special experience with a staff member to encourage others to step up and do the same. Overall, just enjoy the time away from the hustle and bustle of your traditional family life and make some amazing memories together!