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Tips for traveling with your autistic kids (feat. Dawn M. Barclay) S5E11
Episode 1116th May 2022 • The Autism Dad Podcast • Rob Gorski
00:00:00 00:35:23

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My guest today is Dawn Barclay, and she's here to share tips and tricks to make traveling with our autistic kids safe, fun, and enjoyable. She wrote a new book called Traveling Different: Vacation Strategies for Parents of the Anxious, the Inflexible, and the Neurodiverse (will release Aug 15th).

Dawn and I have a conversation about some common challenges families face when trying to travel with their autistic, anxious, or otherwise neurodiverse child. She provides no-nonsense solutions, ideas, and advice to help make travel a rewarding experience for the whole family. She also talks about how to evaluate hotels, theme parks, and other places prior to arrival. This is a great episode, especially as we get into the summer months.

Check out Dawn's information below to learn more and pre-order the book.

Dawn M. Barclay

Dawn M. Barclay is an award-winning author who has spent a 30+ year career working in different aspects of the travel industry. After attending Tufts University, she worked in sales, marketing, and management for her parents' firms, Barclay Travel Ltd. and Barclay International Group Short Term Apartment and Villa Rentals. Next, she 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. Dawn holds degrees in psychology and marketing, is a mother of two, and lives in New York's scenic Hudson Valley. She also writes fiction as D.M. Barr and holds leadership roles in several writer organizations.

http://www.dawnbarclayink.com  

Pre-Order her book on Amazon.

Find me at theautismdad.com

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Mentioned in this episode:

Just two Dads Podcast

Shawn Francis and Brian Altounian host "Just two Dads." A weekly conversation with two dads about raising children with special needs. Listen, every Wednesday at 12PM PST. Find them on Facebook and anywhere you get your podcasts.

Just two Dads Podcast

Learn More About Mightier

Mightier is a clinically proven mobile gaming app that was developed at Boston Children’s Hospital. It’s already helped more than 100,000 kids, including my crew here at home. Kids play on a tablet or a phone while wearing a heart rate monitor. And Mightier incorporates breathing exercises and other calming techniques as part of the game. Kids get to see when it’s time to cool down and learn how to do it themselves. And parents get to track their progress. Visit mightier.com and use the promo code "theautismdad" at checkout to save 10%.

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Transcripts

Rob Gorski:

Welcome to The Autism Dad Podcast.

Rob Gorski:

I'm Rob Gorski, and I've got a really good show for you guys today.

Rob Gorski:

So stay tuned or get ready, whatever.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, first of all, uh, my voice is a little rough on recording to central cause I'm just getting over, being sick and my, uh, kinda lost my voice a little bit.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, so it'll sound different than the actual interview because it recorded at different times.

Rob Gorski:

So please forgive the difference.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, secondly, we are going into the summer months now at the time of recording and, uh, that's sort of the traditional time where families go on vacation and they.

Rob Gorski:

And do all that kind of stuff.

Rob Gorski:

But what happens when your family has neurodivergent loved ones?

Rob Gorski:

Like you have an autistic kid, or you have a kid with ADHD, or you have a kid who is prone to anxiety, right?

Rob Gorski:

Uh, traveling can be very, very difficult.

Rob Gorski:

And in a lot of cases, it's just avoided altogether.

Rob Gorski:

My guest today specializes in helping families like mine travel, and she wrote a book called traveling different vacation strategies for parents of the anxious, the inflexible, and the neuro diverse.

Rob Gorski:

And she's here today.

Rob Gorski:

To talk about that and help us get a better understanding of the options that are available.

Rob Gorski:

Some techniques, tips, and tricks, all that kind of stuff that can help us do the things that a lot of other families sometimes take for granted.

Rob Gorski:

So thank you, Don Barclay for taking the time to come on the show, which take a second and just introduce yourself and give us a little bit about your.

Rob Gorski:

Yes.

Dawn Barclay:

Thank you so much for having me.

Dawn Barclay:

I really appreciate it.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, my name is John M Barkley.

Dawn Barclay:

I have been in, uh, travel my whole life.

Dawn Barclay:

I have been a travel trade reporter for the past 34 years on and off.

Dawn Barclay:

I am currently the special needs.

Dawn Barclay:

And family travel, contributing editor for a trade publication called insider travel report, but that follows a number of other publications I was with.

Dawn Barclay:

And I've written this book called traveling different, uh, vacation strategies for parents of the anxious, the inflexible and the neuro-diverse.

Dawn Barclay:

So it's 344 pages of tips, uh, for traveling in every mode of transportation.

Dawn Barclay:

And.

Dawn Barclay:

Different venues, how to build a trip around a child's passions.

Dawn Barclay:

Anything you can think of is in there, and that comes out August 15th, but it's available for pre-order now.

Rob Gorski:

Okay.

Rob Gorski:

Very cool.

Rob Gorski:

And I'll make sure to have, uh, links for the pre-order in the show notes that people can, can check that out and we'll put your website and stuff on there as well.

Rob Gorski:

Great.

Rob Gorski:

Um, um, what are some of the challenges.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, when it comes to traveling, whether it's for business or vacations or whatever, the reason is when you have kids who are maybe anxious or neuro-diverse, uh, what are some of the challenges that families.

Dawn Barclay:

Well, it always depends on the child, of course, but mostly it is say you're having a chat on the spectrum.

Dawn Barclay:

Usually they have sensory issues, which will mean that they're going to react to crowds.

Dawn Barclay:

And there are a lot of crowds when you're traveling, they're going to react to, um, confined spaces.

Dawn Barclay:

React to changes in their environment and all of travel is about changes in their environment.

Dawn Barclay:

So, um, preparation is key.

Dawn Barclay:

I go into a long discussion of how to prepare, and these are also good tips for neuro-typical children as well because any child taken out of their comfort zone is going to become.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, in flexible and anxious as all of us would be when they were young.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, but it's really a matter of thinking of the trip from a to Z.

Dawn Barclay:

And I've broken it up into how to start small, how to decide where you're going to go, whether you want to go domestically or internationally airlines.

Dawn Barclay:

Buses trains, car trips, um, restaurants, hotels, tours, special interests, museums, anything you can think of, even how to travel with older children, sports, vacations that are geared to children on the spectrum.

Dawn Barclay:

Anything you can think of.

Dawn Barclay:

I try to put in the book,

Rob Gorski:

what are some of the, I guess what are S okay.

Rob Gorski:

So we talked about like sensory issues and that is a big thing.

Rob Gorski:

Um, Trying to find places that are, um, sensory friendly can be very difficult.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, when you're traveling, what are some of the, um, I guess what are some of the basic things that that parents should think about when they are maybe going to take a flight to Florida or something like that?

Rob Gorski:

And their, and their child is autistic and can maybe, uh, deal with some of the things like sensory issues.

Rob Gorski:

Um, What are some of the things that they can do to help make that a successful trip?

Rob Gorski:

And one that, that isn't, uh, maybe as traumatic for their child is, you know, it might be otherwise.

Dawn Barclay:

Absolutely.

Dawn Barclay:

So when it comes to airlines, first of all, the key.

Dawn Barclay:

To traveling with somebody on the spectrum is to make the trip as predictable as possible.

Dawn Barclay:

So I'm sure since you have three children on the spectrum that you're familiar with social stories, I don't know if you've spoken about social stories on the podcast, but I can give your listeners just the idea that Carol Gray created this idea of social stories, which.

Dawn Barclay:

And there are stories that are written from the child's point of view that use narrative photos and drawings to guide the child through the experience, preparing him or her, for the sense for the social interactions that might be required in prompting desired responses.

Dawn Barclay:

So that's sort of like.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, but you might also create a visual schedule.

Dawn Barclay:

You're going to want to make it as clear as possible what the child is going to go through.

Dawn Barclay:

That might involve videos.

Dawn Barclay:

In the case of airlines, the beautiful part is there are programs that will let your child actually come to the airport and walk through the entire process from check-in to TSA.

Dawn Barclay:

Actually getting to the gate so they can preview that whole experience before it's time for the actual trip.

Dawn Barclay:

And they'll have a frame of reference when it is time for the trip.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, there's a group called wings for autism that does that program in many airports around the country.

Dawn Barclay:

They stopped for COVID hopefully they're going to be starting again.

Dawn Barclay:

I know American airlines recently introduced a program at nine airports where they did it, but it was only one day a year.

Dawn Barclay:

Wings for autism was more frequent than that.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, often you can call the airline themselves and they will have somebody meet you and walk you through the trip, show you the airport.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, you're going to, with all things related to travel, you're going to probably want to work with a certified autism travel agent, a travel professional CA TP.

Dawn Barclay:

These are people who have.

Dawn Barclay:

Gone through an extensive 10 part course with exams and continuing education to know how to deal with people and their children on the spectrum and provide what you need.

Dawn Barclay:

So they will be able to make preparations.

Dawn Barclay:

They'll be able to give advanced notice to the airlines that you are traveling and you have a spectrum child.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, they can do the same thing for hotels.

Dawn Barclay:

They can find the hotels that will work best for you.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, with airlines.

Dawn Barclay:

You're going to, um, want to seek out sensory spaces in airports that offer it.

Dawn Barclay:

So there's a place to decompress.

Dawn Barclay:

You're going to, um, when you make.

Dawn Barclay:

Your reservations, you're going to want to look into programs like TSA cares, which we'll have somebody actually meet you and walk you through the process of going through, um, the pat down, which you don't necessarily have to do with the child.

Dawn Barclay:

And, uh, they can help calm the child down, or they can look for triggers that might be happening and help you out.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, you're going to want to make sure if your child's a picky eater that you bring food along on the flight.

Dawn Barclay:

If the airline will permit it and arrange for a special meals that the child will like.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, and if your journey involves a layover, part of your advanced research research should actually be in investigating what's available at your midway point, there might be a sensory room there or a playground area or whatever you need.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, and you're going to want to make sure that your carry on luggage includes items that are good at both distract and calm.

Dawn Barclay:

Your child.

Dawn Barclay:

Usually electronics are very big, but also noise, noise, canceling headphones.

Dawn Barclay:

And one of the best tips I heard from one of the people.

Dawn Barclay:

This book is the culmination of about a hundred different interviews with, with various parents and see ATPs and allies and mental health professionals.

Dawn Barclay:

One of my favorite tips was to bring along some sort of toy that the child can press.

Dawn Barclay:

And so they're not pressing the, um, the steward is the flight attendant.

Rob Gorski:

Yeah.

Rob Gorski:

The overhead light.

Rob Gorski:

So

Dawn Barclay:

those are a couple of the tips for airlines.

Rob Gorski:

You know, you had mentioned, uh, My, uh, my friend Holly Robinson Peete just shared something on, um, Instagram where they, I can't remember the name of the year.

Rob Gorski:

It was it United maybe, but they're doing practice flights for autistic kids.

Rob Gorski:

Is that, I mean, do they actually like fly?

Dawn Barclay:

I don't think so.

Dawn Barclay:

I might be boarding the plane.

Dawn Barclay:

I have to look more into that as well, because I know American.

Dawn Barclay:

Is running a program and I know wings for autism is running a program.

Dawn Barclay:

And jet blue is very friendly, uh, for bringing you on and taking you around.

Dawn Barclay:

I had parents who talked about that, um, United was not, you know, I did not see that information.

Dawn Barclay:

But I'm going to definitely research it because I have a blog called traveling different.

Dawn Barclay:

That's going to back up the book because things change all the time and I, once the book's done, I can't change it until they,

Rob Gorski:

so you can have like, uh, updates for, for traveling things.

Rob Gorski:

Yes.

Rob Gorski:

Um, how has traveling with COVID has probably made things immensely more challenging.

Rob Gorski:

I would think, um, But you, you mentioned about.

Rob Gorski:

Um, successful trips should be child centric and should revolve around the child's special interests.

Rob Gorski:

So what, what do you mean by that?

Dawn Barclay:

Of what I mean is that when you're traveling with children who have special needs, it's their trip, not.

Dawn Barclay:

You have to, it's not like, oh, we're going on the strip.

Dawn Barclay:

And you were just going to bring you a log.

Dawn Barclay:

You have to base that trip around the child because you had your time to travel before the children were born.

Dawn Barclay:

You'll have it again one day, hopefully, but this is really their trip.

Dawn Barclay:

Or at least you should think that way if you want the trip to be successful.

Dawn Barclay:

And one of the things that we know about children on the spectrum is many of them have circumscribed ne uh, That they can spend up to 16 hours a day, you know, amusing themselves with and talking about.

Dawn Barclay:

And so, uh, what I consider the heart of the book is a chapter that's dedicated to those special interests.

Dawn Barclay:

So say you have an interest in trolley cars.

Dawn Barclay:

I list museums of trolley cards.

Dawn Barclay:

Around the country.

Dawn Barclay:

They've broken out by state and then by city.

Dawn Barclay:

So if you happen to be going on a trip there, you might go and spend some time at that museum.

Dawn Barclay:

But I came up with as many special interests as I could and research those museums and special events in the case of car racing and things like that.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, so if your child loves rocks, you might go on a trip to a quarry and I list those.

Dawn Barclay:

Or if your child loves construction, there are construction museums.

Dawn Barclay:

I had one parent whose child left elevators, and I found elevator museums and grain museums as rain elevator.

Dawn Barclay:

So there are, um, I think you have to think in terms of the child and, and have the child, uh, the trip revolve around them.

Rob Gorski:

So, so I guess, um, like if I were traveling.

Rob Gorski:

If we were traveling to Florida or something and I, and I was going to fly and I can make arrangements for, um, you know, the kids to kind of see what the experience is going to be like ahead of time.

Rob Gorski:

But like, if I'm going there for a specific purpose, like there's a purpose to the trip.

Rob Gorski:

Um, in reality, there's the purpose of the trip, making it sort of centered around the kids.

Rob Gorski:

Could be just simply including things that touch on their interests.

Rob Gorski:

So like, um, Lego land or, or something like that, where, where they can work for them, the trip could be centered around that.

Rob Gorski:

And then dad's also going to be doing this, you know, while we're down there too.

Rob Gorski:

So, so you're basically focusing on the positive for the kids and then that helps them to maybe better deal with.

Rob Gorski:

The adult stuff that has to happen while they're there, uh, as well.

Rob Gorski:

Is that, is that kinda

Dawn Barclay:

what you mean?

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

And then you would couple that with trying to stay at hotels that are either certified autism centers or, uh, autism friendly.

Dawn Barclay:

And I do list many, many, uh, properties as well as, um, venues like the parks and water parks and, uh, different venues in the book that are either certified as autism friendly by.

Dawn Barclay:

IBC CES or there were other certification groups like culture, city and sensory city.

Dawn Barclay:

I know that autism speaks is trying to set up a, um, a certification program.

Dawn Barclay:

So.

Dawn Barclay:

Whenever you see something in the book or something elsewhere that says they're autism friendly.

Dawn Barclay:

It's always a good idea to call them and find out exactly what that means, because it varies.

Dawn Barclay:

And just because it's autism friendly for one doesn't mean it's autism friendly necessarily for your child, things change and you can lose a designation or you can gain a designation, but also make sure that.

Dawn Barclay:

The program that you want or the amenity or you want is available when you'll be there.

Dawn Barclay:

Because I found that there are some museums that have a sensory day, one Saturday, a month that might not be the Saturday you're there.

Dawn Barclay:

So you really have to couple my research with your own due diligence.

Rob Gorski:

What are you seeing a trend in the travel industry when it comes to accommodation and inclusion, is are we moving in the right direction?

Rob Gorski:

As far as, um, accommodating the needs of the neurodiverse community.

Dawn Barclay:

I think so.

Dawn Barclay:

I think that because, um, these groups have set up these, these certifications and there are more, more of them doing it.

Dawn Barclay:

That even just from an economic and marketing standpoint, if I was a property, I would want to make my property as accessible as I could to as many people as I could,

Rob Gorski:

like when I traveled to.

Rob Gorski:

Orlando.

Rob Gorski:

And I, I was evaluating the, um, uh, the DoubleTree that was down there and they were tied to SeaWorld and Orlando and SeaWorld is sensory friendly now.

Rob Gorski:

And I don't know if the DoubleTree, I think during COVID they let the certification go because they didn't have, um, I think it was the, uh, staffing.

Rob Gorski:

They had staffing issues with COVID like everybody did.

Rob Gorski:

And my understanding is they're going to be picking it back up, but.

Rob Gorski:

What like when you have, uh, like hotels or, um, you know, sensory rooms.

Rob Gorski:

I just had a conversation with someone from Pittsburgh international airport, and I'm going to be working with them.

Rob Gorski:

I mean, I don't know when this one will come out, but I'm doing something.

Rob Gorski:

They have a it's called Presley's place and it's huge sensory room in the center of the area.

Rob Gorski:

That is, you know, for adults and kids who are overstimulated or just need that sensory, uh, uh, calming or whatever, you know, if they're they're overstimulated and they can go into this room and it's just massive.

Rob Gorski:

And, uh, it helps them to kind of re grounded themselves, I guess, in, in, in, uh, decompress when you are talking about, uh, hotels or, or places where people can stay or theme park, When they are autism friendly or sensory friendly, do you have, like, what does that mean?

Rob Gorski:

I guess if that makes sense, it

Dawn Barclay:

means that many of them have areas that are quieter.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, and I mean, again, theme parks, it's different than a museum, but in, um, a theme park, they might give you a map of which areas are, uh, quieter and they might let they have programs to let you skip to the front of the line.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, some of them will allow you to keep your stroller with you so that the child isn't always standing.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, and it varies by program.

Dawn Barclay:

I do talk about a lot of them, as well as aquariums and zoos and waterparks and what they offer, but say in a museum, it might be a time when there are fewer cracks.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, time when the lighting is lower, that's important.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, another person said if you take a child on a tour, say to a museum, make sure you go to one that gives them a headset so that they don't get distracted by talking to people around them.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

So there, you know, it depends where you're going.

Dawn Barclay:

I do cover that Pittsburgh room theater.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah, I do.

Dawn Barclay:

I talk about that as well.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, but yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

Whatever is going to make it quieter for the child or, you know, they go to a, if you go to a muse, a theme park, bring along, not only noise, canceling headphones, but sunglasses, even at night because of the flashing lights.

Dawn Barclay:

So tips like that.

Rob Gorski:

And those are all things that like, In the heat of the moment, like when you're packing for a trip and all the chaos, that's probably in suing because there's all these things that you're trying not to forget.

Rob Gorski:

There's some very basic things that can have a significant impact on, on the overall, I guess you'd call it success or the trip or, or how well your child, uh, tolerates it, you know, or enjoys it.

Rob Gorski:

Sunglasses, noise, canceling headphones, uh, their tablets.

Rob Gorski:

I mean, there's all kinds of, uh, things that can make.

Rob Gorski:

A significant difference that are probably easy to overlook.

Rob Gorski:

In the moment.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

In every, in every chapter I include information about a go-to bag.

Dawn Barclay:

And the, um, the reason I do that is because I figure people who are reading the book are going to jump around.

Dawn Barclay:

They're not just going to read it from beginning to end.

Dawn Barclay:

If they're going on a bus trip, they're going to read that chapter.

Dawn Barclay:

If they're going on a cruise, they're going to read that chapter.

Dawn Barclay:

So I include this go-to bag and there's always like a sensory.

Dawn Barclay:

Did you get toys, foods, electronics, um, change of clothes.

Dawn Barclay:

Anything that might come up is listed there.

Dawn Barclay:

So it's a quick reminder of what they

Rob Gorski:

should bring, like a go bag.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

And.

Dawn Barclay:

You know, and that can also include things like battery operated, motion detectors, if you're going on a cruise so that they can make sure the child doesn't go out on the balcony, um, GPS trackers that you might so in their clothes, if you're going to an amusement park.

Dawn Barclay:

So if you lose them, you can find them again.

Dawn Barclay:

Uh, so there's whole areas in the book about safety.

Dawn Barclay:

And precautions to take as well.

Dawn Barclay:

There are checklists of what, how to evaluate, say a vacation rental.

Dawn Barclay:

If you don't want to go to a hotel, if you want the quietness of just being the only people in the property, how to evaluate that, how to evaluate a campground, all that information is included.

Rob Gorski:

Very, very cool.

Rob Gorski:

I remember when I was at, um, one thing that really stuck out, we were talking about the SeaWorld a minute ago.

Rob Gorski:

You know, you wonder how, how can you make SeaWorld or, or an amusement park like that sensory friendly, but you're right.

Rob Gorski:

They have quiet rooms.

Rob Gorski:

They have sensory rooms that are, um, scattered kind of throughout the park where, you know, you could take your kids and they can decompress, but they have signs.

Rob Gorski:

That tell you what you're going to be walking into ahead of you, right?

Rob Gorski:

What kind of smells you're going to be smelling?

Rob Gorski:

What type of, uh, you know, if the air is going to be like Misty, because you're, you're by a rollercoaster that dips into the water, it helps you to prepare so that you're not.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, surprised.

Rob Gorski:

And I think what's helpful is like when you have a kid who might deal, uh, be dealing with sensory issues and maybe they, they have a versions of certain smells and you're going by the seals or whatever.

Rob Gorski:

And it smells like dead fish because people are feeding the seals, you know, ahead of time walking into that, that this is what it's going to smell like.

Rob Gorski:

This is why it's going to smell that way.

Rob Gorski:

And you can prepare your kids because if they understand.

Rob Gorski:

Y it's going to smell that way, then it, sometimes it can be more tolerant of it when they know, um, like they're going to get to feed the seals or that, you know what I mean?

Rob Gorski:

Like, and that was a really cool experience to see that.

Rob Gorski:

And at the hotel they had, um, designated areas for kids to just have meltdowns.

Rob Gorski:

Like if you were, if you were out at the pool, um, There were areas that if your, if your kid is getting overstimulated and you needed to, uh, they were having a meltdown, there was a safe place right off to the side where it was, there were some privacy and, and your kids could just kind of chill there and, uh, it kind of gets you away from everybody else so that you don't feel like you're being, um, stared at or judged or anything like that.

Rob Gorski:

And, and it was just a nice, it was a nice thing to see.

Rob Gorski:

Like we didn't need it, but it was nice to see that they thought about all those things.

Rob Gorski:

And when you walk in, they give you this care bag for each of the kids that include, uh, um, they're passive north canceling headphones, not, not the act of kind, but noise, canceling headphones, all kinds of fidgets and, and things that the kids can kind of occupy themselves with.

Rob Gorski:

And they walked you through the hotel and showed you where everything was.

Rob Gorski:

And there were staff members who were specially trained and had experience with autistic kids, so that if you needed help, you had backup, they weren't like looking over your shoulder, but you knew you had somebody there who was able to assist you and understood what was going on, uh, if you needed it.

Rob Gorski:

And that was pretty empowering, especially like as a single dad taking my three kids down there by myself.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, I was scared.

Rob Gorski:

I thought it was a good thing to do, but you know, it was just enough that it was, um, I felt capable and empowered and that's important, I think for parents to feel that way so that they can navigate some of these things and they get to have all those experiences that families like to have.

Dawn Barclay:

I just totally agree.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

I mean, that's, what's so great about these certification programs because they spend the time to train the staff on how to help.

Dawn Barclay:

And I think your experience is amazing that those, those amenities were available and more and more properties are learning.

Dawn Barclay:

I mean, entire city.

Dawn Barclay:

Are getting certified like Mesa, Arizona, or now the XALIA California.

Dawn Barclay:

They're becoming the tourist board gets involved and then reaches out and tries to get the hotels and the restaurants and the venues involved so that, you know, if you go to say Mesa, Arizona, you're not going to have a problem that you can relax and know that everyone's been trained.

Dawn Barclay:

And that's just a wonderful, you know, same thing with Lisa beaches in, um, Jamaica and Turks and case.

Dawn Barclay:

They're advanced autism, uh, certified autism centers.

Dawn Barclay:

So you know, that they have had heavy training, um, and how to work with children on the spectrum.

Dawn Barclay:

And that's a relief to parents who can relax and sort of enjoy themselves.

Dawn Barclay:

Same thing with cruising, with autism on the seas.

Dawn Barclay:

And there were, as you, I'm sure you're aware of five major cruise lines that have dedicated themselves to helping people on the spectrum.

Rob Gorski:

That's really cool that, that we're seeing a trend where, uh, Everything's becoming more inclusive.

Rob Gorski:

And I think, you know, one of the things that really stood out to me is, is it's more of, um, I mean, there's not always something that somebody can actually do.

Rob Gorski:

Like as a parent, for me, there wasn't really something anybody could do for me when I was down there.

Rob Gorski:

Cause like I already know what I need to do, but it was knowing that people understood right.

Rob Gorski:

And that they weren't judging me and they weren't judging my kids if they were having a problem that.

Rob Gorski:

That it was a safe space, you know?

Rob Gorski:

And, and that's, that's something that is, um, I think until recently was, was just not widely used.

Dawn Barclay:

No, it's wonderful.

Dawn Barclay:

But when now, when you see what a large percentage of the population say is on the spectrum, if you want out of every 44 kids is on the spectrum, that's a big percentage of business.

Dawn Barclay:

These places don't want to, you know, lose out on just to put it in economic terms.

Dawn Barclay:

And you do mention people sort of looking on and, and inconsiderately judging.

Dawn Barclay:

Um, and there's a.

Dawn Barclay:

Section of one of the chapters on how parents that I interviewed deal with that and how they work with their children to deal with that.

Dawn Barclay:

So, cause I thought that was, um, an important topic.

Rob Gorski:

Yeah.

Rob Gorski:

It seems like you've covered, uh, Yeah,

Dawn Barclay:

pretty much.

Dawn Barclay:

I'm really tired.

Rob Gorski:

How long did you, how long did it take to

Dawn Barclay:

write the book?

Dawn Barclay:

Well, you know, it's interesting.

Dawn Barclay:

I wanted to write the book in 2008 and I interviewed Tony Atwood who was, um, an expert.

Dawn Barclay:

Even at that time, I met him at Stony Brook at a conference for autism, and I started interviewing him and I interviewed Ellen Littman.

Dawn Barclay:

Who's an expert in ADHD, especially.

Dawn Barclay:

ADHD with girls.

Dawn Barclay:

And then I hit a stumbling block because I didn't know where else to go and who else to interview because these certification programs weren't around.

Dawn Barclay:

I didn't really have access there.

Dawn Barclay:

Weren't the kind of autism parent groups that you find now on Facebook, uh, and other, uh, other social media.

Dawn Barclay:

And once I saw that the.

Dawn Barclay:

IBCC E S had created the certified autism travel professional program.

Dawn Barclay:

That's when I knew.

Dawn Barclay:

And that was back in, um, when did I, when did I, um, like 2019, I saw that that existed.

Dawn Barclay:

And then I knew exactly how I could write the.

Dawn Barclay:

I knew that I could speak to all of those travel professionals.

Dawn Barclay:

And they were very gracious in so many of them spoke with me and again and again, they had great patients, um, and gave me names of their parents.

Dawn Barclay:

Obviously the parents agreed ahead of time to be interviewed and, um, There was just so much more information available on the internet as well to follow that the book came together.

Dawn Barclay:

So once I, um, started writing it, I guess it was around October of 2019, and then with the layoffs, thanks to COVID.

Dawn Barclay:

I had plenty of time to write it and it took me about a year.

Rob Gorski:

Wow.

Rob Gorski:

That's but that's so, I mean, that's such an invaluable resource for.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah, thank you.

Dawn Barclay:

I, I, I wish it had been available when my children were younger and I'm really glad to be able to provide it and the blog that's going to back it up because there's information coming out all the time and I'm either putting it on the Twitter feed or I'm putting it on Facebook or I'm writing the original stories on my blog to, um, to back up the book.

Dawn Barclay:

So it's always.

Rob Gorski:

Every every what you just said, something that, that I say every time I do one of these interviews, I'm like, oh my God, like I wish that was available 20 years ago when my youngest was, uh, or my oldest, my oldest, definitely my oldest, um, uh, was really struggle.

Rob Gorski:

With just daily life.

Rob Gorski:

There are so many resources that, that we have available to us.

Rob Gorski:

Now that would have been so beneficial back then.

Rob Gorski:

And one of the things that I really liked doing with this podcast is to, is to connect families, especially people who are like just starting out.

Rob Gorski:

You know, connecting them with information, like, uh, traveling different as a resource so that they can avoid a lot of the pitfalls that like I had to learn the hard way.

Rob Gorski:

Right?

Rob Gorski:

Like I fell on every one of those potholes along the way.

Rob Gorski:

And, and, uh, and there's a lot of things that travel, something that we just avoided because.

Rob Gorski:

I was like, man, we can't even go to the grocery store.

Rob Gorski:

There's no way we're going to go, you know, for five hour car ride.

Rob Gorski:

I mean, that's just not going to happen, but there are ways to make it happen.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

And there was actually a survey of special needs parents.

Dawn Barclay:

And out of 1093% said they didn't travel, but they would, if they knew where to go and how to do it.

Dawn Barclay:

So I'm very happy to be able to open up, hopefully open up the world to those people.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, and you said the book will be coming out on.

Dawn Barclay:

But it is available for pre-order now in the hardcover and the, um, audio book version, the digital, like the ebook.

Dawn Barclay:

I don't think you can.

Dawn Barclay:

Pre-order it'll come out on August.

Dawn Barclay:

They get the book and, um, anything else they want to know as well as the blog and the book is available in all the typical online places like Amazon and Barnes and noble and the indie book places, uh, it's available worldwide.

Dawn Barclay:

From what I could see and, um, um, and it has links to where it, if they could ask their libraries to order it, then it would be available to people who can't afford it.

Rob Gorski:

Very cool.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, thank you so much because so many families feel excluded from the everyday things that other families get to enjoy or take for granted, you know, and travel, I think is one of them vacation is, are one of them.

Rob Gorski:

Um, And helping families to better navigate the situations in finding ways of overcoming, maybe what they thought were insurmountable obstacles, uh, is, is so important for mental health and just that family bond, getting to have, make those memories that, that so many people I think maybe take for.

Rob Gorski:

You know, because it's just easier for them to get up and go do something.

Rob Gorski:

Cause it doesn't require the same amount of planning or it doesn't require, um, you know, managing some of those same challenges.

Rob Gorski:

So thank you, uh, for writing this.

Rob Gorski:

And I will have all that information in the show notes below.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, you guys will be able to check out the website and, um, I'm sure they can connect with you directly from the website and it has all your social stuff on there as

Dawn Barclay:

well.

Dawn Barclay:

Yeah.

Dawn Barclay:

And actually, if they find a, if they've had a.

Dawn Barclay:

Experiences that are other than what I've listed.

Dawn Barclay:

If they'd like to share an anecdote with me that could go on the blog or in a future, a future publication, or if they've found, uh, various venues that they found to be particularly friendly, uh, then I would love to hear about it, or just if you've traveled, when you didn't think you could.

Dawn Barclay:

And my email is there in the book, and I would love to hear from you.

Rob Gorski:

Very cool.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, again, thank you.

Rob Gorski:

All the information will be in the show notes below you guys can check that out and, uh, you know, uh, reach out to Don and share your stories and connect and learn something.

Rob Gorski:

So thank you.

Rob Gorski:

Have what does.

Rob Gorski:

I have a great week.

Rob Gorski:

I never know what day it is.

Rob Gorski:

Every time, every time I'm closing these things out, I'm like, I got it all planned out in my head and I lose track of the day.

Rob Gorski:

And I'm like, oh, let's think about it's Monday.

Rob Gorski:

So have a great week.

Rob Gorski:

Thanks

Dawn Barclay:

so much.

Dawn Barclay:

You too.

Dawn Barclay:

Welcome.

Dawn Barclay:

All right.

Rob Gorski:

Take care.

Rob Gorski:

Before I close things out today.

Rob Gorski:

I just want to say thank you to Don for taking the time to come on the show and talking to us about her book, traveling different vacation strategies for parents of the anxious, the inflexible and the neurodiverse.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, you can find more information about her book at Dawn Barclay, Inc com.

Rob Gorski:

It comes out on August 15th at the time of recording.

Rob Gorski:

So it may be out by the time you're listening to this.

Rob Gorski:

I don't know, but you can, pre-order the book from her website or on Amazon or wherever you get your books at, you can also find information for contacting Don at her website.

Rob Gorski:

The links will be in the show notes below.

Rob Gorski:

So thank you Don, for your time.

Rob Gorski:

I really.

Rob Gorski:

Also, there's a bit of housekeeping real quick.

Rob Gorski:

Uh, I set up a group on Reddit specifically for this podcast and it's episodes where you can talk about, uh, the content of the episodes.

Rob Gorski:

You can have questions, uh, talk to other people who are listening and get feedback and opinions and bounce ideas off of whatever.

Rob Gorski:

I'm open to topics, suggestions, guest, suggestions, pitches, whatever you guys want to do.

Rob Gorski:

It's on that forum.

Rob Gorski:

It's totally free.

Rob Gorski:

It's already a bunch of people signed up.

Rob Gorski:

So just go ahead and do it, and I'd love to get your feedback.

Rob Gorski:

Um, okay.

Rob Gorski:

You're listening to the content that I've provided for you.

Rob Gorski:

So a link will be in the show notes below, outside of that, as always, you can find me at the autism, that.com all my social links are at the top of the page.

Rob Gorski:

You can like and subscribe to this podcast in any one of your favorite podcast listening app.

Rob Gorski:

Just please subscribe.

Rob Gorski:

I really appreciate that.

Rob Gorski:

I hope you guys have a fantastic week.

Rob Gorski:

Thank you so much for listening and I'll talk to you next Monday.