How the world is changing for travelers with autism
(CNN) — Wanderlust doesn’t discriminate. It creeps up on lifelong homebodies, blossoms in the hearts of grumpy teenagers and pushes those who “can’t afford it” out the door, bank accounts be damned.
Because traveling the world is for everyone that means that none of us should be surprised to hear thatthose on the autism spectrum get itchy feet, too.
When thinking about travel it’s important to understand that autism isn’t a monolithic diagnosis. “Autism is a diverse disability and everyone’s needs are different,” says Zoe Gross, director of operations at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network.
Autism, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is “a developmental disability that causes social communication and behavioral challenges.” An estimated one in 68 children are affected, with the rate higher in boys than girls, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Depending on personality, where they are on the autism spectrum, and how their particular disability manifests, each autistic traveler will have different needs and challenges. Some might be physical, others might be cognitive, or a mix of the two.
Examples include trouble dealing with unexpected routine changes; finding acceptable food; sensory issues with loud spaces or bright lights; and physical disabilities from minor to significant.
“Travel with service animals might be hard especially in other countries where they have different rules for animals,” says Gross. And of course, just like anyone, autistic travelers will have varying interests, passions and bucket-lists.
Travel can be especially onerous for people on the spectrum — but it can be especially enriching, too.
Read more at CNN.