A note from Nicole Thibault, creator of Spectrum Travel Social Story Videos....
We were always a traveling family. Before kids, my husband and I loved to explore new places and we always thought once we had kids, we would just keep exploring with them.
When my son was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we thought perhaps our traveling days were over. Traveling seemed to be a nightmare for him. He melted down over loud noises, unfamiliar smells, long wait times, and large crowds. How were we going to pass on our love of travel to our boys if our son couldn't tolerate going to new places?
Slowly over time, we began to travel again. We learned of the accommodations that destinations had available for families with Special Needs. We learned how to prepare my son for new destinations through something called a Social Story.
Social Stories were first created by Carol Gray and are created to describe a specific situation, event or activity, which include specific information about what to expect in that situation and why. Social stories can depict everyday activities like "Going to the Doctor," "Visiting the Dentist," "Getting a Haircut," and more. Usually, social stories are used by parents and therapists to prepare a child with Autism or anxiety for an upcoming event that may be stressful or anxiety-producing for a child. Reading a social story for a few weeks before the event can ease the anxiety felt by the child because they feel prepared for said event.
In addition to Spectrum Travel Social Story Videos, I also own a travel agency, Magical Storybook Travels, that specializes in booking travel for Autism and other Special Needs. I offer a service called "Pre-Travel Counseling." I was noticing that the clients with children with Special Needs were hesitant to travel at all, and then they decided to travel, both Parents and Kids had a lot of anxiety about their upcoming family vacation. Parents worried that the destination wouldn't be able to accommodate their son or daughter's needs, stressed about how their child would handle the unfamiliar resort or attraction, and where to go if a sensory meltdown did occur. The kids, on the other hand, had a lot of anxiety about going some place new and unfamiliar to them.
I thought, but what if they could see and experience some of the resort or destination before even going? What if there were videos that were made for kids with Autism and anxiety, and hosted by children? Videos that could familiarize them with the look and feel of the resort rooms? Gave tours of the pool areas and kid's clubs? Walked them through some of the steps for onsite safety procedures and showed the children the expected behaviors at for the destination?
And what if the Parents could feel more at ease because the accommodations at the destination are spelled out in a video that they can watch before even booking that vacation? They can learn how to obtain the Special Needs pass at guest Services and don't have to worry about where to go for one when they arrive.
The stress and anxiety both the Parents and the Kids can be lessened by watching these Spectrum Travel Social Story Videos, and these families can concentrate more on having fun with each other and making memories on their family vacation!
Please enjoy the videos and share them with friends and family. And Happy Traveling!