The travel bible for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder and/or mood and distraction disorders, offering helpful tips to soothe any child’s travel anxieties.
Traveling with children is always challenging, but for parents of children with autism spectrum disorder and/or mood and attention and distraction disorders it can be especially intimidating. How should parents of children experiencing meltdowns deal with clueless and judgmental onlookers? What are the best methods to alleviate motion sickness when your child might already be on a cocktail of drugs? Traveling Different: Vacation Strategies for Parents of the Anxious, the Inflexible, and the Neurodiverse answers these and many other questions parents may have when traveling with their children.
Dawn M. Barclay presents travel strategies and anecdotes from Certified Autism Travel ProfessionalsTM, parents of special needs children, associations and advocates, and mental health professionals, broken down by mode of transportation and type of venue. The heart of the book outlines suggested itineraries for spectrum families as well as venues—such as museums—that cater to the unique special interests that are characteristic of individuals with autism. Less common accommodations such as dude ranches and houseboats are also included, as are vacations involving sports that might not immediately be associated with ASD, such as diving, skiing, and golf.
The book culminates with a resource guide of travel agents who specialize in special needs travel—as well as where to find other experts—and lists of organizations that advocate for special needs families. Noted mental health professionals offer advice throughout the book and organizations that support the needs of this community are profiled and included in the resources.
Travel brings the world together and now, thanks to a growing focus on the needs of those with special needs, it is more accessible than ever before. This work is an essential part of that effort, a resource designed to make the cultural, educational, and bonding benefits of vacations available to all.
Dawn M. Barclay is an award-winning author who has spent a career working in different aspects of the travel industry.She started as an agent with her parents’ firms, Barclay Travel Ltd and Barclay International Group Short-Term Apartment Rentals, and then branched out into travel trade reporting with senior or contributing editor positions at Travel Agent Magazine, Travel Life, Travel Market Report, and most recently, Insider Travel Report. She is a mother of two and resides in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley. She also writes fiction as D.M. Barr and holds leadership roles in several writer organizations.
Part I: INTRODUCTION
Chapter One: Every Family Deserves to Travel
Chapter Two: Traveling with Any Child Can Be Challenging
Chapter Three: The Growing Focus on Traveling with Children on and off the Spectrum
Chapter Four: Modifications Can Help Every Family’s Travel
Part II: SETTING THE STAGE
Chapter Five: Starting Small
Chapter Six: Pre-Trip Preparation
Chapter Seven: Foreign vs. Domestic?
PART III: MODES OF TRAVEL
Chapter Eight: Navigating Airline Travel
Chapter Nine: Negotiating Car and Bus Travel
Chapter Ten: Chugging Along: Train Travel
Chapter Eleven: Smooth Sailing: Cruise Travel
PART IV: ONCE YOU’VE ARRIVED
Chapter Twelve: Staying the Course: Various Accommodations Options
Chapter Thirteen: The Great Outdoors—Camping, RVs, and More
Chapter Fourteen: To See or Not to See—Tours and Venues
Chapter Fifteen: Taking the Bite Out of Restaurant Dining
Chapter Sixteen: Other Suggested Modifications
PART V: DESTINATIONS AND SPECIAL INTEREST TRAVEL
Chapter Seventeen: Suggested Itineraries
PART VI: RESOURCES AND ASSISTANCE
Chapter Eighteen: Resources
About the Author
Barclay, a longtime travel agent and editor at Travel Agent magazine, found her life changed when she became a mother. She searched for a book to help her navigate traveling with two young neurodivergent children but came up empty-handed. Years later, she has created the book she once needed, with guidance from Certified Autism Travel Professionals, mental health experts, and parents of children on the spectrum. Starting from the premise that every family should be able to travel, Barclay’s book includes tips on packing a “go-to” bag, creating a relaxed vacation schedule that works for the entire family, preparing for a trip with bibliotherapy (including lists of books to read with children), and navigating TSA precheck and international travel. It also lists sites that are certified as accommodating for autistic people. Much of the book’s guidance will also be useful for families with neurotypical children as well. An essential read, not only for parents of autistic or otherwise neurodivergent children but for all families.
Dawn Barclay's Traveling Different is an invaluable guide for parents and families of children with special needs and provides a concise blueprint for enjoyable, stress-free travel. A terrific resource that any family can benefit from.
Traveling Different is now mandatory when packing the diaper bags and backpacks of kids with special needs. Industry veteran Dawn Barclay has done the research for you and she thoroughly details the ins, outs, and best practices of successfully navigating air travel, rail travel, cruising, hotels, and especially restaurants, museums, and venues. Trust her--this book covers it all.
Whether you’re planning a day trip or an extended vacation, Dawn M. Barclay’s Traveling Different: Vacation Strategies for Parents of the Anxious, the Inflexible, and the Neurodiverse will bring your family together. Filled with valuable travel tips and tools, this comprehensive guide will ease your travel worries with its thoughtful guidance surrounding numerous modes of transportation, special accommodation options, as well as suggested modifications, itineraries, and resources. So now go pack your bags – it’s time to make life-long memories together!
In Traveling Different, Dawn Barclay provides essential strategies and tools to improve quality of life for families with autistic and neurodivergent loved ones that will enhance their ability to travel with confidence and joy. Drawing from her years of expertise in travel and as a parent, she opens up a world of opportunities for families who are understandably hesitant to explore all that travel offers. A truly unique book that will make a huge difference in personal growth for all family members.
Dawn Barclay has filled a void with her book Traveling Different: Vacation Strategies for Parents of the Anxious, the inflexible, and the Neurodiverse. Autism Spectrum disorder (ASD), affects 1 in 5 children as per a recent survey. With 87% of parents with a child on the spectrum saying that they do not take a vacation as a family and 93% will travel if there were more autism-friendly places to go, it was high time someone wrote a book like this. Born out of a series of interviews of those in the know combined with Dawn’s cutting-edge research on how to make travel as seamless as possible, this book holds each and every parent´s hand through pre planning to executing the trip till you get back home after a memorable journey...memorable, mind you, not for the disasters but for all the fun and amazing memories. Having dealt with all aspects of travel in minute detail, she summarizes each chapter into Action Steps. This is a must-read for all parents irrespective of whether your child has a disability or not.
It’s through [an] enormously generous, empathetic prose that Barclay is able to carefully shoehorn in facts, statistics, and left-brain methodology in a manner that feels narratively seamless. She also provides in-depth, personalized examples and scenarios, furthering the reader’s sense of both empowerment and empathy—especially if he or she is themselves a parent potentially within this complex predicament. This is reflected in passages highlighting things one wouldn’t normally expect to find in a book of this nature, yet simultaneously affirming Barclay genuinely knowing her stuff, and wanting the reader to come away from the book as informationally empowered as possible.
12/16/21, Insider Travel Report: Dawn Barclay wrote an article about how an accessibility landing page on travel sites can both help special needs travelers and promote business.
4/14/22, Taking the Kids Column: Dawn Barclay was interviewed for an article about traveling with kids on the autism spectrum.
Parenting Special Needs, May/June Issue: Dawn Barclay penned an article featuring tips from the book.
5/4/22, Smart Family Podcast: Dawn joined Dr. Rob Meeder to talk about the book.
5/4/22, Autism Family Toolkit Podcast: Dawn shared strategies to make travel plans manageable for children.
5/16/22, The Autism Dad Podcast: Dawn spoke with Rob Gorski and offered tips for traveling with autistic kids.
5/18/22, The Better Behavior Podcast: Dawn joined Dr. Nicole Beurkens and talked about travel and vacation tips for neurodivergent children.
May/June Issue, Parenting Special Needs Magazine: Dawn Barclay penned an article featuring tips from the book.
6/1/22, Mom Talks with Christa Podcast: Dawn Barclay joined the episode to talk about her book.
Accessible Journeys – Mélange Magazine, June 2022 Issue: Dawn Barclay was interviewed in a feature about the book.
Autism Parenting Magazine, Issue 139: Dawn Barclay penned a piece about post-COVID traveling tips for parents of neurodiverse children.
6/20/22, Fearless Fathers Podcast: Dawn Barclay was interviewed about the book and offered tips to get your child ready for a trip.
6/28/22, Mom Treading Water (The Imperfect Mom): Dawn Barclay joined the podcast to discuss the book.
7/1/22, Insider Travel Report: Dawn Barclay provided tips for helping neurodiverse children cope with the post-vacation blues.
7/24/22, Talking Dad UK: Dawn Barclay was a guest on this episode.
8/18/22, Insider Travel Report: Dawn Barclay discussed the book withJames Shillinglaw.
8/26/22, Sand and Snow: Dawn Barclay shared tips for traveling with an autistic child in this blog post.
8/31/22, Kars4Kids: Dawn Barclay contributed an article about traveling with children on the spectrum.
9/1/22, Insider Travel Report: Dawn Barclay wrote about autism-friendly airports.
9/8/22, Wealth of Geeks: Dawn Barclay offered tips from the book in an article about traveling with special needs kids.
10/25/22, Autism Blueprint Podcast: Dawn joined the podcast to talk about the book.
10/25/22, Greenwood Library: Dawn’s virtual event with the library was posted.
1/1/23, Exceptional Needs Today: This was named a top book for 2022.