"An illustrated family-vacation planning and resource guide for parents of children with physical, developmental and mental disabilities.
Any family vacation requires some thought, but when children have disabilities-such as blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, autism or ADHD-parents face additional challenges. In their debut work, Jones and Keiper, both special education teachers, present insights gleaned from their teaching experience and as co-founders of Starry Night Travel, a travel agency for parents with special needs children. Good planning is key, a process they've broken down into the five D's: Dream, imagine the kind of trip desired; Determine, figure out what special provisions will be needed; Dry Run, practice potentially difficult situations; Departure, draft a timeline and checklist; and Destination, list last-minute details, tips and reminders. The authors continually stress safety, and vignettes, tips, exercises and worksheets round out the book. Some of this advice is common sense for any traveler: "Cruises up the Alaskan coast are most popular during summer months," but most is directly, thoughtfully targeted to disabled children's needs, such as how to help a child with ADHD withstand long waits or an autistic child deal with changes in routine. If a child can't snorkel the usual way, "an inflatable raft with a window is the way to go." Or, for blind children: "Create an accessible map of the travel plan...by gluing string on a map outlining the route." A good tip for children on the autism spectrum is the Autism Theatre Initiative, which presents Broadway shows in autism-friendly environments; spectrum kids and their parents can also benefit greatly from the book's discussion of using stories to alleviate anxiety. The authors offer strategies for various common scenarios, such as making a picture scrapbook ahead of time for anxious children meeting unfamiliar relatives or, if safety is a concern, making a "Pick the Safe Picture" book for children to identify rule-following behavior. Kids should know what to expect and what's expected of them. Practical, doable and backed by evidence-based research, the guidelines and tips offered here make an excellent resource.
An extremely useful, well-organized guide to planning a successful family vacation with special needs children."
Pub Date: May 14, 2013
Page count: 268pp
Publisher: Starbrite Kids' Travel, LLC
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online: June 17, 2013
Kirkus Review Issue: July 15, 2013