When you have a child with a disability, it changes the dynamic of the family. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun together. Your kids deserve a chance to just be kids—not kids with a label, just kids.
It can take more planning to go on family vacations or even just to go to the park, but it is still important to try and have fun as a family. Take it small steps at a time. Your family vacation doesn’t have to be an elaborate 6-night cruise to the Bahamas. It could be a simple day trip somewhere in the great state of Texas.
- Visit an accessible park in your area
- Visit the local gluten-free/casein-free bakery
- Go to Sensory Friendly Movie showings—these are opportunities for families of children with disabilities to enjoy movies in a safe, accepting environment. AMC Theatres offer these screenings. Check with your local theater
- Dine out at kid-friendly restaurants
- Visit local children’s museums
- Visit art museums on days that are more kid friendly—Find art museums in Texas
- Go to story time at your local library
- Join a sports team
- Enroll in a dance class
- Be prepared—it’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. It’s especially important to have a plan for unexpected medical or behavior issues
- Don’t be afraid to leave early—Live by the words, “When the fun is over, the fun is OVER”
- Go with friends who understand your family needs
- Just because an activity didn’t work last year doesn’t mean that you can’t try it again with a different plan
- Be flexible
- Be gentle with yourself and your family
- Try to stay in the moment with your family, and enjoy it—the past is past, and you can’t know what the future will be
- If your child depends on structure or routine, make a plan and discuss it before you leave so he knows what will happen
Morgan’s Wonderland is a different kind of amusement park in San Antonio, Texas. It was specially designed for people of all ages and abilities. Individuals with disabilities are always admitted free.
Download Strategies to Help Children with Special Needs Enjoy Community Outings (PDF) from the May Institute. It offers tips for handling the challenges of going out in the community and preparing for holiday travel. Though written for military families, the information could help any family.