Living in the information age has opened up many individuals’ minds to a greater understanding of personal disorders and disabilities. Children with disabilities were once hidden from public view, but now we try to embrace all individuals.
We are fortunate to live in a time when individuals, families, and parents are all encouraged to live better and more fulfilling lives. Given this more enriched approach to life, companies have also learned to adapt and empower their employees by making facilities more friendly to people with disabilities.
5 Best Travel Locations For Special Needs Children
1. Local City and National Parks
Starting at the local level, many parks have been built or modified to accommodate a variety of participants and sizes. Accessible playgrounds have ramps and swings to accommodate children and even adults.
What’s particularly helpful is that inclusive playgrounds help to educate all children from a young age about kids who may be different from them and how to adjust to them.
In addition to local parks, many U.S. national parks have been adapted to be more wheelchair accessible. Many still have a long way to go to make their facilities more available to individuals with varying needs, but the top five most-accessible national parks consist of the Great Smoky Mountains, Acadia, Shenandoah, Grand Canyon, and Great Sand Dunes.
When people think of the beach, we immediately picture sand, which is difficult for many to negotiate, but that’s especially true for individuals in wheelchairs. Fortunately, some beaches, such as Gulf Shores and Orange Beach located in Alabama, have found a solution.
They have placed beach access mats that make rolling wheelchairs down to the beach more feasible. Additional beach locations that have found a solution for our friends in wheelchairs include some in Oahu, Hawaii. They have made amphibious beach wheelchairs available, which enable everyone to gain access to the water.
3. Notable Theme Parks
Apart from all the Disney parks, a variety of theme parks have not only made accessibility a breeze, but they often cater to families with children with special needs. One of the most notable locations, touted as one of the world’s first “Ultra Accessible Family Fun Parks,” is Morgan’s Wonderland.
This park offers more than 30 adaptive rides that make accessibility seamless. The park also includes a sensory village and music garden to cater to our friends with Autism. It is also worth noting that visitors with special needs enjoy free admission!
Another renowned theme park that keeps our special friends in mind is the comparatively placid Dollywood. This park is described as calming for those who struggle with sensory overload. If the accessible rides and water fun becomes too much for some individuals, the park has a calming room complete with weighted blankets.
One of the best traditional cruise ships to travel with is Royal Caribbean Cruises. This line has sensory toys and autism-friendly programs and staff. Royal Caribbean also has specially trained staff members who can assist in caring for and supporting individuals with special needs and considerations.
Another excellent cruise service is Autism on the Seas. They not only specialize in helping families who have autistic children, but also individuals with Down syndrome and other special needs.
Autism on the Seas has customized staff trained in understanding the importance of ABA therapies to help reinforce positive behaviors. Many activities are designed to incorporate everyone into the fun.
A variety of resorts cater to families with special needs. One of the most notable resorts is the all-inclusive Franklin D. Resort and Spa located in Runaway Bay, Jamaica.
This destination offers a steep discount to families traveling with special needs individuals, in addition to providing every family with their own personal care nanny.
Another resort that has multiple locations and highlights their ability to help people that are differently abled is Beaches Resort. Located in Turks and Caicos as well as Jamaica, they have properly trained staff and programs and activities that are geared toward the requirements of individuals with Autism.
Education and understanding have played a key role in adapting many programs, locations, and fun for everyone. Learning about different abilities and the needs of these individuals has enabled companies and agencies to adapt with such understanding, and create safe and inviting environments so everyone can enjoy the joy and wonder of travel.