Summer Travel and the Speech-Language Impaired Child
Nothing beats summer vacation and the chance to get out and travel. As a speech-language pathologist, you may have concerns regarding summer travel and the families you work with. Planning summer travel with a speech-impaired child can be difficult and the families you aid may have questions involving how to make traveling during the summer fun for everyone involved. With these tips, you can help ensure your students and their families have safe and fun summer trips.
Before You Arrive
The destination is picked, and everyone is getting excited. Before arriving at the vacation destination, decisions need to be made:
Travel – plane, train, or automobile?
Special services – wheelchair accessible or hearing/speech impaired services.
Amenities – does the child require any special comforts or features?
Things such as accessibility and amenities should be top of mind for summer family travel. If there are any unique provisions that the child requires, it will be important for the family to get those arranged prior to travel. Airlines, hotels, and travel companies can help the family find everything from transportation to accommodations that will suit their needs.
While it can be tempting to overpack for a trip, you’ll want to advise your families to include any of the child’s learning aids. Whether it’s flash cards, communication boards, voice output devices, or simple pen and paper; the child’s ability to communicate and feel included should be as important as packing clean underwear and a swimsuit.
A checklist is a great tool for families traveling during the summer. It should include the essentials such as: clothes, pajamas, and comfort items (such as a pillow, blanket or favorite stuffed animal). It should also include other items including kid and parent IDs, snack foods, headphones, electronic devices and any medicines, or medical devices.
The last thing any family wants is to be loaded down with too many bags. Planning a list of necessities will help curb the urge to overpack.
Combating Meltdowns Before They Start
Nothing will ruin the summer vacation faster than the eventual meltdown or tantrum. Children with speech-language difficulties aren’t any more likely to meltdown than a child who has no impairments. The difference between them can often lie in knowing the triggers before one occurs.
Sticking to some of the family routines can help a child ward off a meltdown. If there is a routine, such as a snack time or rest time, it’s important to stick to it. Other things the family might want to take into consideration are events or situations where they know their child can become stressed. It may be difficult enough for the child to communicate their needs but putting them into a situation where they feel even more helpless and unable to communicate can be the perfect setup for a disaster. Parents should also know their triggers and avoid situations that will stress them as well.
Helping the families you work with create a fun summer travel experience requires only a bit of patience and planning. As they get ready to embark on a fun-filled summer be sure to ask if there are fears about summer travel and how you can help.