Posts Tagged ‘traveling’

Holidays & your child with special needs- tips for the NICU, visiting Santa, dinners & traveling

Wednesday, December 9th, 2015

Parents in NICUFrom spending holidays in the NICU, finding developmentally appropriate toys, eating at Grandma’s house (without a meltdown!), to visiting Santa in a loud, bright mall, the holidays can be oh so hard for a child with special needs. Here is a walk down blog post memory lane to help you get through the next few weeks and even have some fun.

We wish you a stress-free, calm, smooth holiday season. If you have any tips that have worked for you, please share them! You can find more posts on parenting a child with special needs, here.

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Accommodations help vacationers with special needs

Wednesday, August 27th, 2014

mom and daughter in poolGetting a change of scene, even for a day, is GOOD for you and your child with special needs. And now, it is getting easier to do.

I have blogged about the importance of taking time for yourself, and have posted tips on traveling with a child with special needs. But, often parents of kids with special needs don’t go on vacation as a family because they feel that their child’s special needs may not be met at hotels, restaurants or in theme parks. But, the chronic stress associated with your daily life can catch up with you; it is not good physically, emotionally or mentally for you to never re-new your energy. Here is some good news if you are thinking of spending a day at a theme park or going away for the Labor Day weekend.

My two grown kids and I just got back from a vacation where we visited several theme parks. We had a fabulous time going on rides, swimming at the hotel pool, and just spending time together. The breaks from our usual routines were much needed, and we all returned home with renewed energy and enthusiasm.

At the various theme parks we visited, I was heartened to see accommodations for individuals with special needs. “Family Restrooms” are common, where you can take your child into a restroom in privacy, comfort and safety. Ramps or special entrances enable buildings with attractions to be wheelchair-accessible. Amphitheaters are outfitted with numerous seating sections for groups that have a family member in a wheelchair. Sign language interpreters accompany certain shows, and braille can be found on park maps. Many theme parks have staff especially devoted to making sure that guests with disabilities or special needs are accommodated and welcomed. Often sports stadiums or ball parks have days especially dedicated to individuals with disabilities.

At many of the restaurants we went to, gluten free menus were prominently displayed. At our hotel, we observed accommodations for guests with disabilities:  the outdoor hot tub had a chair lift to assist individuals who cannot go down steps, and special room accommodations were available for hearing impaired guests.

Often you can find theaters that offer “sensory friendly” movies or performances, where the lights are dimmed but are not fully off, the sound or music is lowered, and families can bring their own snacks. Children are not discouraged from getting out of their seats to dance or wiggle around on the floor.

Although the American with Disabilities Act (ADA) has been the driving force behind many of the physical changes in public places, organizations or businesses often go above and beyond the requirements of the ADA to make sure their guests are able to take full advantage of their offerings. The inclusive, welcoming attitude of these organizations is apparent and makes it easier and more enjoyable for you to spend a fun day with your entire family.

Bottom line

If you are heading out of town for the weekend, thinking of going to a theme park or sports stadium for the day, or simply wish to go to a restaurant to eat, check out the website of the venue or call them to see the kind of accommodations they offer.  The information is usually listed under Guest Services, Accessibility Guide, Access Guide, Disability Services, or a similar title. With so many recent positive changes, there are fewer reasons to stay home and not take full advantage of a wonderful family outing.

Note: This post is part of the weekly series Delays and disabilities – how to get help for your child. It was started in January 2013 and appears every Wednesday. Go to News Moms Need and click on “Help for your child” on the menu on the right side to view all of the blog posts to date. As always, we welcome your comments and input.

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Stay safe during summer travel

Friday, June 21st, 2013

luggageIt’s officially summer – YAY! If you’re from the Northeast, this summer is greatly welcomed after the winter we’ve had! Summer is a great time to travel and lots of people use this time to travel overseas. If you’re pregnant and healthy, chances are you can safely travel with your provider’s OK. But there are some things you should do to take extra care and be safe when traveling abroad.

Talk with your provider before taking any big trips. She can tell you if your pregnancy is healthy enough to travel and what steps you can take to stay healthy. Your provider may also talk to you about vaccinations during pregnancy to help keep you and your baby healthy.

Also, check out the Center’s for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website for any travel advisories. The CDC just issued an advisory for travel to Japan and Poland due to a Rubella outbreak.  Rubella, also called German measles, is an infection that causes mild flu-like symptoms and a rash on the skin. It can cause serious problems for your baby during pregnancy.

Contact your health insurance carrier to be sure you’re covered for medical care if you’re overseas. Most insurance plans cover emergency medical care no matter where you are. But you need to know what your plan means by “emergency” to know exactly what it will pay for.

If you’re traveling by air, check with your airline to see if they have a cut-off time for traveling during pregnancy. You can fly on most airlines up to 36 weeks of pregnancy. But if you’re flying out of the country, the cut-off time may be earlier.

To learn more tips, read our web article on traveling during pregnancy.

Air travel during pregnancy

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

 Next month I’m attending a conference for work on the west coast. It’s something that was planned well before I knew I was expecting. I’ll be in my 23rd week by the time I head out. I spoke to my health care provider because I was a little nervous about traveling by myself especially because the flight is so long. I’m mostly concerned about being uncomfortable, having to get up a million times to use the bathroom, weird plane food and jet lag.

If you are in good health and more than five or six weeks from your due date, traveling by air should be fine.  If you are experiencing health problems during your pregnancy, air travel can be unwise.  Be sure to speak with your health care provider if you are unsure about whether you should travel.

Pregnant women who travel may have special concerns including:

Seating – Try to get an aisle seat so you will have more legroom as well as the ability to get up and stretch periodically.  This is important, especially during long flights.  Blood can pool in your legs if you sit idle for extended periods.  This pooling can lead to blood clots.

Changes in air pressure -This should not pose any unusual problems.  During flight, the air pressure in the plane cabin is adjusted to approximate the pressure you would experience around 5,000 to 8,000 feet above sea level.  At this height, you and your baby will each have less oxygen in your blood than you would at sea level.  Your bodies will adjust however and you should get along fine.

Seat belts -The seat belt should be adjusted snugly beneath your abdomen, across the tops of your thighs.

Fluids – Drink plenty of nonalcoholic and decaffeinated fluids before and during the flight.  The humidity level in the cabin is generally low and the extra fluids can help prevent dehydration.

For more information about traveling during pregnancy click here.

Image: John Wardell, Flickr