Giving Tuesday: Impact Autism

What happens when children with autism grow up?
*Many will continue to need a 24-hour caregiver to be safe.
*Many will age out of support services as if their needs have magically disappeared.
*While they are aging out of services, their parents/caregivers are also aging.
*They are no longer accepted as having a so-called “childhood illness.”
*They become adults with autism and the world is not completely ready for them. Many parents and professionals will admit that “we are making it as we go.”
Cruising with Autism, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charity and our mission is to provide autism-friendly activities to families raising a child or adult living with autism. Remember us on #GivingTuesday by making a donation of any amount at bit.ly/autismis and share this post with others. Thank you for your continued support. #GivingTuesday #impactautism #autism #autismis #donate #nonprofit

Autism Cruise 2017

Autism Cruise® 2017

Families raising a child or adult with autism can experience feeling constantly overwhelmed; isolated from their family, friends, community, place of worship, etc.; mentally stressed out; financial hardships; physically exhausted; strained/broken relationships; guilt; depression, and so many other factors that can affect their household and lifestyle.  Autism Cruises® takes the family out of their environment so that they can enjoy themselves, be in the company of other families and caregivers who understand their daily concerns, and where the entire family can experience a respite.

DayPortArrival TimeDeparture Time
SundayPort Canaveral, FL4:00 pm
MondayFreeport, Bahamas8:00 am5:00 pm
TuesdayNassau, Bahamas8:00 am5:00 pm
WednesdayDay at Sea
ThursdayPort Canaveral, FL

 

If you know anyone who is interested in joining this cruise as an autism family or if you would like to support by sponsoring a family or by sailing with us (yes, everyone is invited), contact us at info@cruisingwithautism.org or donate by using the button below.  All proceeds go towards sponsoring an autism family.  All donations/gifts are tax deductible.

Meet One of Our Cruisers

Meet Julian!!! Julian was one of the participants on our cruise in June 2016. He is 12 years old and is on the autism spectrum. Julian was accompanied by his mother and aunt. He had a great time meeting new friends, swimming, enjoying a character breakfast, and indulging in many of the activities that a cruise has to offer. The cruise provided Julian an opportunity to enjoy a routine-free week with his family and new friends. Routines are a coping mechanism for many autism families; however, they can cause stress and anxiety in the household. A cruise vacation can be a relaxing and bonding experience for the entire family. We are working hard to make this happen for more families in 2017. If you would like to receive information about our cruise in 2017, please complete the following pre-application: http://bit.ly/autismcruise2017
If you’re interested in sponsoring an autism family, your donation is tax-deductible and any amount is appreciated.

We Are Now Booking Impact Travel

We are excited to announce that we are now booking Impact Travel!!!  What does that mean to you?  By booking YOUR individual or group vacation experience with us, all the proceeds from your vacation will go towards funding an autism family future cruise experience.  This is an awesome fundraising opportunity for us and all those families that we plan to serve!  We have listed several group vacations at http://www.cruisingwithautism.org that you can book with us as well as take advantage of our group rates and amenities.  We can also customize any individual or group / land or sea vacation package.  Our travel agents are trained and experienced in various travel destinations and all of the major cruise lines. Remember, by booking YOUR vacation with us, you will be making an impact on an autism family by providing them with a much-needed vacation experience.  Let’s make an IMPACT and get started at bit.ly/impact-travel

Hello August

I can’t believe that it’s August 1st! Where has the summer gone? Well, I’m not going to cry over spilt milk! No should have, could have, would have… No! August is the 8th Month, and the number 8 represents New Beginnings. I welcome the month of August! I welcome new beginnings! I have set goals for my son, business, non-profit, health/fitness, spiritual, and future. One of the first things that I did this morning, was took the time to write my goals down in my prayer journal. Not only do I need to write down my goals (vision), I must also make sure that my goals are SMART goals. Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic/Relative and Time Based. To stay on track, I am going to have to stay FOCUSED!

Now is the time to write down those goals. Life gets busy! I don’t have to remind you that in a couple of weeks, summer will be over, school will start, the holiday season will be upon, etc. Today, let’s focus on those things that we need to accomplish by the end of the month, quarter and year and let’s make them happen! I’m not going to live my life as if I will have another chance. I have everything that I need to make things work today! I just have to focus and put my vision into action!

You have everything that you need to make things work for you today! Focus and put your vision into action! Let’s be intentional in getting our goals accomplished!

Hello AUGUST!!!

Stress-Less Autism Parenting

With having a child on the autism spectrum, many of us come to the realization that we have a child or children that will never “grow up.” Some of these children will always require direct assistance, whereas some will require minimal assistance, and others will be able to live independently.  Whether you’re parenting as a couple or as a single person, the diagnosis changes your life forever. Your life takes on a whole new path. You sometimes have to take on characteristics outside of your personality.

This is always an uphill battle, whether it’s with the school system, daycare provider, insurance company, physicians, etc. The majority of the time, you are in a battle with someone who does not totally understand your plight because they lack true empathy. Many may have good intentions or feel they are doing what’s best for you and your child, but they can’t totally understand your battle.

The following are some of the realizations you have to come to in order to joyfully parent a child with autism:

  1. It’s not the end of the world. You received your child’s diagnosis; do what you need to do to make peace with it. When you are at peace, you will be able to accept it and move forward.
  1. You had dreams, goals, and aspirations prior to the diagnosis. Don’t dare give up on you! Find a way to continue to pursue those dreams, goals, and aspirations.
  1. Become the subject matter expert when it comes to your child. This doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Some of this knowledge will come from your research; however, the majority of your knowledge will come from experience.  Simply know your child better than anyone does and have your child’s best interest at heart.  Don’t allow anyone to categorize your child based on your child’s diagnosis.  Every child on the autism spectrum is different, and each has their own strengths and weaknesses.  Make sure you encourage those strengths and help develop those areas he or she is weak in.
  1. Know that your life, home, and family doesn’t have to look like anyone else’s. Don’t try to fit in!  The missing puzzle piece that symbolizes autism, it’s really not missing; it’s a little displaced.  Being a little out of place is fine.  Everyone will feel displaced at a point in their life.
  1. Don’t seclude your child and family from life. Excluding your child or your family from experiencing life is a disservice to your child, your family, and the world.  We teach the world how to treat our children by the way we treat our children.  People need to know about autism, and we should welcome their questions.  This encourages acceptance and awareness which will open opportunities for spectrum-friendly activities and events.  By all means, allow your child to enjoy life!
  1. Keep a journal chronicling different things about your child, especially if your child is nonverbal. Include in the journal a list of your child’s strengths and the things your child enjoys.  Also, include a list of things your child doesn’t like and those things they need assistance with.  Life gets busy, and we forget about some of the things that bring joy to our child and those things they don’t like.  Not only do we need to remind ourselves from time to time of some of the characteristics of our child, but we also need to keep a record for someone else to follow if we are unable to be there for our child.  This is an ongoing process which we should keep current.  I find it helpful to schedule a monthly date on my calendar to update this list.
  1. Become your child’s advocate. The first step of being an advocate is showing up!  We have to make sure we show up for our child in their school meetings and classroom, in the community, and anywhere they need our voice, protection, and support.
  1. Realize that “no” really means “not now,” so don’t give up. Parents of children with any type of disability know that we struggle with making sure that the child and the family receive the services and support that’s needed to make sure they thrive.  If you’re denied a service or support that you know will benefit your child or your family, don’t take no for a final answer.  Be persistent and it will eventually happen.
  1. Accept your child as they are, unapologetically! God made your child, and I truly believe that God does not make any mistakes. We must have faith in his plan for our life.
  1. Have fun! There are so many days that you will cry, feel sad, worry about the future, and feel like a failure, and you will simply get exhausted. Make sure you enjoy your child and your family, and live life to the fullest!

Dream! Love! Laugh! Be UnSTOPPABLE!

 

How a Home Security System with Video Surveillance can Safeguard Your Child or Adult with Special Needs

As a single parent to a child that is severely impaired by autism, home security with a video surveillance camera makes our lives so much easier as well as safer. I’ve always had a home security system and transferred the service when we moved from one home to another. About two years ago, I decided to upgrade our system with a video surveillance camera which was installed in our living room. I found the surveillance camera so helpful and a few months later, I had an additional camera installed in my son’s bedroom. This has been one of the best decisions that I have made, because it has empowered me as a parent to be able to keep an eye on my son and to see what’s going on in our home when we are not in the same room or when I’m not in the home while working or traveling.

Ways a home security system with a video surveillance could help your family and tips how to maximize the security and video system to
safeguard your child or adult with special needs:

• Freedom to work outside on your lawn or other outside projects while your child with autism is sleeping.
• You can walk your dog in the neighborhood without your having your child with autism join you on every walk or just take a stress-relieving solo stroll.
• You will be able to safeguard your child while they’re in the care of a sitter. (nanny cam)
• When you need to check up on your child and you are exhausted, you can grab your phone or a hand-held device and watch without having to get up.
• Remote access feature to arm or unarm the alarm to allow a caregiver in the home without having to provide them with a security code.
• Remote access feature to arm or unarm the alarm system when you’re in bed or not feeling well.
• Added security for children and adults that wander by installing additional sensors (on room doors).
• Added security for children and adults that wander by receiving text and email notifications, as well as a telephone call from the Home Security System provider when there is a door entry/exit alert.
• Inform your Home Security System provider that there is a child with autism living in the home so that there will be a faster response to the caregiver and the police.
• Alert your local police department that there is a child in the home that may have a tendency to wander.

It’s the responsibility of caregivers to provide a safe living environment for their child living with autism. Some children with autism need more supervision or direct care than others and it’s the responsibility of the caregiver to identify the level of care that is needed in order to provide that safe environment for the child. Each child on the autism spectrum is different and maintaining a safe environment for the child for many families will continue throughout the lifetime of the individual with autism.

Caregivers, we must take control over this situation because we have too many of our children on the autism spectrum that wander, which seems to be on a daily basis.  I know that we can’t prevent every situation, but we can reduce many of these occurrences.

Flying with Autism: 10 Smart Tips for an Enjoyable Experience

Traveling with a child with autism or a similar disorder can be very difficult and has caused many families to give up on their vacation getaway plans. Family vacations are supposed to be a time when families come together to relax, escape from their busy routines, and to simply enjoy their vacation experience. It should also be a bonding experience and a time to make memories for years to come. It is also very important for the person affected by the disability to escape from their routine and to bond with their family in a relaxing environment.

Depending on the cognitive level of the person with the disability, it may be difficult for them to comprehend that the airplane is going to take them to this wonderful vacation spot. Many children with autism and similar disorders have sensory issues and the motion of the airplane may cause them to go into sensory overload. Many are simply fearful, which is understandable.

The following are tips to make the flight easier for the special needs family member as well as their family and or group:

1. Make sure the first flight is a very short flight, no more than 90 minutes.
2. If your child has a favorite blanket, toy, stuffed animal, trinket, book, movie, etc., allow your child to travel with those items.
3. Consult with your child’s doctor, if he or she feels that medication will make the trip more comfortable and tolerable, have your child’s physician prescribe medication prior to your trip.
4. Check in with the airline as early as possible to ensure that your family is assigned seats together.
5. Request priority boarding. Many disabilities such as autism are not always detectable, so make sure you have a conversation with the airline when you are not rushed so that you can explain your child’s issues with ease.
6. Pack your child’s favorite snacks, allow them to have their comfort foods. Once you have gone through the airport security check-in, purchase their favorite beverage.
7. Take your time! Rushing can be stressful on the caregivers as well as the child.
8. Make sure your child has a full change of clothes in a carry-on.
9. If your child has sensory issues or is sensitive to loud noises, consider noise-canceling headphones.
10. Make sure that all medications are packed in a carry-on. (Avoid packing any medications in luggage that you are going to check-in).

Preparing your child with special needs for their first flight should be a gradual process. Take a creative approach, such as scheduling time to take your child on a tour of the airport prior to their first flight. Find out whether there are airlines in your area that offer simulated flights to prepare the person with disabilities for their future flight.

Traveling with a special needs child, teenager or adult can be very difficult and not all experiences are pleasant. Unfortunately, sometimes it is logical to postpone travel until the person is more comfortable with the flight. Whatever you do, do not give up on your child because it gets better and it is highly probable that it can be an enjoyable experience for the entire family. Remember, just because a child is fearful of flying does not mean that he or she doesn’t want to travel.