Guest blogger Kathy Kuhl is back at Different Dream to finish her series about how changing our attitudes can make summer travel easier for special needs families. She writes from first hand experience traveling with challenging children. Today she adds 3 more tips to those she shared in Travel and Kids with Special Needs, Part 1.
Travel and Kids with Special Needs, Part 2
Traveling with challenging children can test our planning skills, but even more, it tests our character. What can we do to cope better? Last time I gave you three tips. Today, three more:
4. Remember why you travel.
In his book A Praying Life, Paul Miller describes his first speaking trip with his autistic daughter Kim. He had wanted to give his wife a break. She was overjoyed to have a respite instead of solo duty.
Despite years of caring for Kim, Paul hadn’t realized how hard this weekend trip would be. When they got to the airport, he discovered Kim didn’t have a book, didn’t want TSA to scan her speech computer, and didn’t want to turn off her CD player for take off. Each disappointment moved her closer to a meltdown, her low-pitched whine announced. As other travelers stared, her dad was helpless and embarrassed.
At the conference, Paul saw the hidden blessing of travel with his daughter. While he was the speaker, he received lots of attention and praise. But the humbling travel difficulties reminded him why he was traveling: to serve God through teaching and to give his wife a weekend off—not to build his reputation.
Most of us aren’t traveling with kids to serve at conferences, but we can all benefit if we remember why we go—because we must bring them as we work, to spend time with family, to get our children special care, or perhaps to show our children beautiful, historic, or fun places. Focusing on our purpose can help strengthen our resolve to be patient in difficulties.
5. You’re not responsible for what others think or do
On the road and at home, we are responsible for our behavior and attitudes. We are not responsible for the reactions of others. If a child melts down on a plane and our seatmates are obnoxious, we can sympathize with their discomfort. We can apologize to them for forgetting to pack the teddy bear or special food. We can learn from our mistakes. But we can’t parachute out of that airliner (much as we might wish to), and we aren’t responsible if others decide to be nasty.
6. Look for what you can enjoy
Finally, keep looking for blessings, even small ones. Last year, I sat behind a grandfather taking his two small grandsons on their first flight. From the first rush of accelerating to take off, to the shrinking objects below, the six-year-old by the window was thrilled. Over and over, he exclaimed, “I thought it would be great, but this is really great!” We strangers sitting behind him couldn’t help grinning. His joy was infectious.
Our kids can help us see pleasures in a trip that we might otherwise miss. So enjoy the journey, as best you can. Then, enjoy home.
Your Tips about Travel and Kids with Special Needs?
Have you discovered effective tips about travel and kids with special needs? Leave them in the comment box if you like!
Kathy Kuhl is the author of Encouraging Your Child, Staying Sane as You Homeschool, and Homeschooling Your Struggling Learner. She advises parents to help them teach exceptional children at home. Visit her website and blog at Learndifferently.com.
Do you like what you see at DifferentDream.com? You can receive more great content by subscribing to the quarterly Different Dream newsletter and signing up for the daily RSS feed delivered to your email inbox. You can sign up for the first in the pop up box and the second at the bottom of this page.