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Travel diaries with autism:

A few days back, we had been to Nainital, Kausani, Ranikhet and Jim Corbett…covering some part of Uttarakhand. It all started with a small conversation on Avaz (since he’s non-vocal, we use AAC device) with my 12 yr old son on spectrum,Sanjith. He wanted to visit a wildlife park to see a tiger. So we planned accordingly.

A parent asked me was he manageable? My answer is we persisted. Just thought to pen down few of our experiences……

First shocker- He didn’t want to sit in plane. It took almost 10 minutes to coax him to sit. Meanwhile, there were many curious glances around us.

Second- Sudden OCD of serving food. It might look as good independent skill. But the problem was 1spoon to dad,2 spoons to himself and 3 spoons on table. We literally were starving. It took some time for us to understand what exactly he is trying to do. So, we gave him his rice bowl and put it closer to plate. He would serve himself.

Third- Coughing.He has this habit of coughing to grab attention or to feel his throat. In normal situations, it would be OK. But with covid around, people would give those weird looks. While we were waiting for tiger to come out of bushes(right in front of us), he would start coughing. We have to keep him silent. I would say tiger was kind enough to spare us

Screaming and stimming- Invited many curious glances and some good glances too.

Didn’t want to get down for most of the sightseeing points…even boating!!!

On the whole, where ever we go, behaviours, OCDs, stims are sure to follow. It’s not that they would disappear suddenly. Still we have to travel…..every one of us needs a break from routine.

There are takeovers from every vacation. Gives us insights of how can we proceed further to bring in more inclusion. I guess, nothing is casual about vacations too!!!

It is difficult at times but there are some awww moments too….like stopping vocal stimming to spot tiger.

We do believe that after us, there will be no one to take Sanjith for vacations. So we want to take him everywhere possible despite the challenges we face!!!!

Prashanthi Vankamamidi

(Autism mom and Parent Champion of Nayi Disha)

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