Author: Katie Philcox, Program Leader

At this time of year, many families are preparing to travel, whether to spend time with extended family, explore a new place, or relax on vacation. This exciting time can bring challenges, for both children with special needs and children who struggle with change. They will need to adjust to new faces, new places, and a disruption to their regular routine.

Start getting ready now! Preparation is the best way to support your child.

Take a look.

Look at pictures of where you will be travelling to. This helps your child visualize where they will be going or remember the previous trip.


Become an actor.

Use role play to practice greeting extended family members. This gives your child practice using the appropriate language when interacting with family members and lets them anticipate questions that may come up.


Start introducing special holiday foods at home now. This helps familiarize your child with different tastes and textures in a familiar environment. If your child is a picky eater, try to find one element of a holiday food they can enjoy and bring this to every gathering you attend.


Plan your schedule ahead.

Ask in advance about the schedule for family events, gatherings, or tourism activities.

Consider that it may be easier for your child to manage shorter interactions or events. See if you can break up long days or attend only the most important gatherings.

BYOG (Bring Your Own Games).

Take activities with you! Board games and card games help support social communication, making it easier for your child to interact. Familiar games can provide a sense of control; perhaps your child can even teach others how to play.

Preparing your child for the upcoming holidays equips them with the knowledge and skills they require to enjoy this exciting time. A step out of their comfort zone is a great opportunity to try new things. A supported child will relish this and thrive.