Summer break is almost here and for families with special needs children, that means some extra planning. Michelle Turner, a movement specialist and mother of two boys with autism, has some fantastic tips to help you prepare for your next trip!

Contributed by Michelle Turner, a movement integration specialist and educator

Medical Information phone with prescription bottles

Always carry a binder of any medical information that might help a doctor in a new location best to understand your child's needs. It is also a good idea to carry a Google map with directions to the nearest hospital and pediatric hospital. Make sure you have all prescription medication with you. Also, be sure where your medical insurance is covered. If your child is on a state Medicare program as their primary, make sure you are aware of out of state coverage. For example, in Arizona your child might be covered under AHCCCS (Long Term Care insurance), however, if you leave the state, that insurance is only good if you enter a hospital through an emergency room.

A Handy Tip^

Take a picture of your script on your cell phone's camera. If your luggage gets lost, you have a back up.


Not knowing what the weather will be ahead of time can pose all sorts of problems, especially for those with severe allergies and asthma. Being in a new environment, your child could have a reaction that he never had before. Don't be stuck without a nebulizer if you use it periodically throughout the year. Also, if it's raining for three days, do you have indoor activities for your children when they can't do what you originally planned?

Airline airport

Plan ahead and let the airline know that your child is coming. Mark the ticket as extreme as possible so you can bring all necessities. For autism, you could mark your child as hearing/seeing impaired. If there is a meal served on the flight, you can pre-order a wide variety of food that can suit your family's needs. You can bring liquid medications, formula and breast milk greater than three ounces and you can pack food to carry onto airlines. And don't forget, airlines also offer wheelchair assistance.

Special diets

When your child has a limited diet, traveling can be a little bit more involved. For example, many people can't eat at many fast food restaurants because their child is allergic to the oils they cook with or the gluten, corn and dairy in their food. This might also apply to other items found in specialty stores. Trader Joe's, Sprouts and Whole Foods are in found in many cities, but you won't find them out in the country or in certain states. The Internet is a valuable tool to know where you can buy the items that you need to keep everyone happy and healthy.

Toys/DVD stack of children's books

Is your child content when they have a certain toy, special book or watching a DVD? Traveling creates a great deal of transitioning on their part -- especially sleeping in different beds, exposure to different smells and movement in cars and airplanes, which can all interfere with their comfort level. Traveling is also a great opportunity to get them a new toy or addition to a set that they might have at home.

Bottom Line^ By spending some time planning ahead, you'll have peace of mind that you've prepared your family for the best trip possible.

>> Michelle Turner is a movement integration specialist, educator and founder of Movement Lesson, LLC, where she provides a progressive therapeutic approach to teach the mind and body to more efficiently work in harmony, with the goals of achieving increased mobility, pain relief and optimal health. Her extensive knowledge, dedication and individualized approach enable her clients to move forward to a richer, more rewarding and fulfilling future.

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