Setting Yourself Up for Success During Outings

Outings with a child with Autism can be very stressful on the family or friends participating in the outing. It can be especially overwhelming for the parents of the child. Unlike other families who may be able to get in the car and go on an outing quickly, a child with Autism requires more preparation for an outing. So how do you set the situation up for success and help yourself feel calm throughout the outing? 

  1. Remember practice makes perfect
    1. As a parent it can be hard to get through an outing that feels like torture for the child and parent alike. Going in with the mindset that the more you practice, the better it will get is important. In ABA we practice skills often so that the child can practice harder things for them and begin to create routines that will set them up for success in the future. This concept of continuing to practice hard things WILL make them easier later. 
  2. Prepare ahead of time 
    1. Preparing ahead of time with items your child likes to help make the outing more motivating for them along with social stories or talking about the outing to prepare them will make the trip more successful in the long run. 
  3. Bring help 
    1. At first, you may need to bring supportive friends or family members along to help you with the trip or outing. The future goal may be for you to be able to do the outing alone with your child, so slowly fading out the help as you make trips and your child begins to engage in less behavior will create an atmosphere of independence. 
  4. Take practice trips 
    1. If this is a large outing for the child you can break it up into smaller steps. For instance if you are wanting to take your child to the grocery store, start small by working on getting in the car and driving to the store/parking lot. Then work on walking to the door, then walking inside, etc. By breaking up the outing and allowing your child to work on smaller steps, this could create more independence for the full outing in the future.