Today is World Autism Awareness Day, an effort to bring to light how the autism spectrum affects those who have been diagnosed and those caring for them.  By creating an awareness of what those with autism face, there is a greater understanding and acceptance of those living with it on a daily basis.  

Sometimes the actions of those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be misinterpreted as being rude or disruptive.  It’s important that if someone is not acting the way you might expect, they may be fighting some obstacles you cannot see.  According to, here are some possible signs of someone with autism: 

  • Avoids eye contact with others
  • Prefers to be alone or wants to avoid crowds
  • Is nonverbal
  • Gets upset with changes in routine or schedules
  • Performs repetitive behaviors, such as rocking or spinning
  • Has unusual or intense reactions to sounds, smells, tastes, textures, lights, or color

While it’s important to treat someone on the autism spectrum the way you would with someone who isn’t, it’s important to have patience with their needs.   

For those who live with autism, traveling can prove to be a challenge.  There are changes to routines, often long lines to stand in, groups of people in a confined area to name a few.  However, with some preparation, the challenges may ease some.

Travel tips


Try a stay at a local hotel(s) prior to the trip so that your loved one has an idea of what to expect during the hotel stay.  This will also allow caregivers to determine what they need to prepare for during their actual travel.  

Watch videos and photos of the destination, including rides if you’re heading to a theme park.  

Call your local airports administration office to explain your travel challenges.  Ask if you can make a practice run with security so there are no surprises on your travel date.


Pack items that will keep your loved one comfortable: ear plugs or noise-cancelling headphones, weighted vests,  pajamas or a blanket that makes sleep comfortable.  


When possible, communicate your needs with others in your travels.  You may find someone who has been in a similar situation or has special training that can be of assistance.  It will also relay to others that your loved one isn’t “just misbehaving.”


Many locations are becoming aware of the needs of those autism, training their staff in how to better meet the needs of their clients. 

Beaches Resorts offer autism-friendly kids camps and meal preparation, in locations such as Negril, Ocho Rios, or Turks & Caicos. 

Sesame Place in Philadelphia has a Ride Accessibility Program that provides as much accommodations as is safe for those registered in the program. 

Heading to Disneyland?  The Sheraton Park Hotel in Anaheim has specialized services in their MAX program. 

If you are planning on a cruise, be sure to let your travel agent or reservations know that you will be traveling with someone on the autism spectrum.  They can make staff aware and set you up with programs or safety information for your trip.

On this World Autism Awareness Day, keep understanding and patience close to your heart.  Make the life of someone who is possible fighting an invisible battle a little easier.  Show your support. Light it up blue!