Traveling with kids can be an exciting and enriching experience for families. However, for parents of children with sensory processing disorder (SPD), traveling can present unique challenges. SPD is a condition that affects how individuals process sensory information. Children with SPD may be hypersensitive or hyposensitive to certain stimuli, making it difficult for them to cope with new environments and situations. In this blog post, we will provide tips and strategies for traveling with kids with SPD, as well as highlight the benefits of utilizing the services provided by Connect Pediatric Occupational Therapy.
Understanding Sensory Processing Disorder
SPD is a neurological condition that affects how individuals process sensory information. This can include sensory input related to touch, taste, sound, sight, movement and smell. Children with SPD may be hypersensitive to certain stimuli, such as loud noises or bright lights, or only need a little sensory input to respond. Some children are hyposensitive, meaning they require more sensory input to feel calm and regulated. This can lead to difficulties with communication, behavior, and social interaction.
Traveling presents many different sensory experiences. Therefore children with SPD may face challenges related to unfamiliar environments, new sounds, touches and movements. Crowds may feel overwhelming and unfamiliar foods may create a picky eater to become even pickier. It is important for parents to understand their child’s sensory triggers and plan accordingly to help them feel more comfortable and regulated.
Preparing for Traveling with Kids with SPD
Preparing for a trip with a child with SPD requires careful planning and consideration. Here are some tips to help prepare for a successful trip:
- Plan ahead: Research the destination and accommodations to ensure they are sensory-friendly. This can include requesting a quiet room or bringing sensory-friendly items, such as a weighted blanket or noise-canceling headphones.
- Pack essentials: Bring items that will help your child feel more comfortable and regulated, such as a favorite toy or comfort item, snacks, and water.
- Use sensory-friendly travel products: A variety of sensory-friendly travel products are available to help your child feel more comfortable and regulated. These can include compression vests, fidget toys, and chew necklaces.
Strategies for Traveling with Kids with SPD
When traveling with a child with SPD, it is important to have strategies in place to manage sensory triggers and promote regulation. Here are some tips to help make travel more manageable:
- Create a visual schedule: A visual schedule can help your child understand what to expect during the trip and provide a sense of routine and predictability.
- Establish routines: Establishing a routine can help your child feel more comfortable and regulated during the trip. This can include maintaining regular meal and sleep times.
- Provide sensory breaks: Provide opportunities for your child to engage in sensory play or take breaks to engage in calming activities, such as deep breathing or stretching.
- Avoid sensory overload: Avoid situations that may be overwhelming for your child, such as crowded areas or loud noises. Plan activities that are less crowded or visit attractions during off-peak hours.
How Connect Pediatric Occupational Therapy Can Help
Connect Pediatric Occupational Therapy is a specialized therapy clinic that provides services to children with SPD and other sensory-related difficulties. Their services include feeding therapy and interventions targeting difficulties with sensory processing and self-regulation. There are individualized treatment plans for each child. When it comes to traveling with kids with SPD, Connect Pediatric Occupational Therapy can provide support and guidance to help parents prepare for and cope with travel-related challenges.
Their services can include pre-trip consultations to help parents plan for the trip, on-site support during the trip, and ongoing treatment sessions. This can include providing sensory-friendly products or tools, helping the child engage in sensory play, and providing strategies for managing sensory triggers.
Traveling with kids with SPD can be challenging, but with the right preparation and strategies in place, it can also be a rewarding and enriching experience. By planning ahead, using sensory-friendly products, and providing sensory breaks throughout the trip, parents can help their child feel more comfortable and regulated while traveling. And by utilizing the services provided by Connect Pediatric Occupational Therapy, parents can receive the support and guidance they need to make travel a positive experience for the whole family.
If you want to learn more about Connect Pediatric Occupational Therapy’s services, visit connectpediatrictherapy.com or contact them directly at 402-413-1356 to schedule a free parent phone consultation. Remember, seeking help and support can make all the difference when it comes to traveling with kids with SPD.