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Diverse Thinking Different Learning

Apr 18, 2023

As we ease into the summer months, this time of year we begin to think about summer travel plans. And with the recent emphasis on neurodivergence, traveling is more accessible than ever before. But it can still seem daunting to travel with a child who is anxious or inflexible. In fact, a recent study shows that 87% of parents surveyed said they wouldn’t even consider traveling with their neurodivergent child. But today’s guest shares helpful tips and travel strategies that can not only make this possible, but an amazing experience for everyone.

Dawn Barclay is an author and has spent her career in the travel industry. She’s seen it all. The ups and downs, the pros and cons. But what she has also seen are the ways that make traveling with neurodivergent children easy and joyful. In this episode, Dawn shares things you can do now to start preparing for summer travel and how you can make these experiences a reality for your family.


Show Notes:

[1:44] - Traveling with children is challenging and is intimidating and daunting for some parents of neurodivergent children.

[2:34] - 87% of parents in a study said that they would not travel at all.

[3:56] - There are a lot of benefits to traveling with your family.

[5:35] - When planning a trip, start with getting your child on board by introducing the concept of traveling.

[7:18] - Start small by traveling to places that are a little closer to home.

[9:15] - Preparation is key.

[10:31] - Build trips around special interests and contact airports beforehand to help make sure your child is accommodated.

[12:33] - Working with a travel planner, you can plan for where to sit on an airplane or things to consider that you’ve not thought of before.

[14:07] - We all become anxious when faced with the unknown and children don’t always know how to express their anxiety.

[15:49] - Think about the things that will make the experience easier when looking for hotel rooms or other lodging.

[18:17] - There are also specific destinations that are specifically designed to accommodate people with special needs, including neurodivergence and even dietary restrictions.

[21:40] - Parents may feel uncomfortable with onlookers and other people around them when traveling with their children.

[23:50] - Sometimes parents even provide information to the people who are traveling around them to explain the situation.

[25:22] - It’s a great idea to travel with someone who can also spend time with your child while you take time to yourself.


About Our Guest:

Dawn M. Barclay is an award-winning author who has spent a career working in different aspects of the travel industry. After spending ten years working in sales and marketing for her parents’ two firms, Barclay Travel Ltd and Barclay International Group Short-Term Apartment Rentals, 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. She is a mother of two and resides in New York’s scenic Hudson Valley. A member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW) and the Family Travel Association (FTA), she also writes fiction as D.M. Barr and holds leadership roles in several writer organizations.


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The Diverse Thinking Different Learning podcast is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical or legal advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Additionally, the views and opinions expressed by the host and guests are not considered treatment and do not necessarily reflect those of ChildNEXUS, Inc or the host, Dr. Karen Wilson.