The Ultimate Guide for Finding the Right Hotel for Your Child with Special Needs
Whether you’re taking the vacation of a lifetime or making a quick weekend trip, it takes a little legwork to find a hotel that will be comfortable for everyone in your family. If you’re the parent of a special needs child, you have even more considerations to make, but fear not! Our guide will help you book the perfect hotel accommodations for every member of your tribe.
Pay Attention to Amenities
- If your child has a hearing impairment, it’s best to find accommodations in an area that’s walkable. Less vehicle traffic immediately near the hotel reduces the risk of your little one walking the grounds unaware of approaching cars.
- Look for accessibility features, including ramps and elevators, to accommodate mobility impairments.
- If food allergies are a concern, look for a room that comes with a mini fridge, microwave, and/or stovetop so you can cook safe meals in your own room.
Security Is Sacred
If your precious cargo has a condition that makes them prone to wandering — such as autism or a learning disability — ensuring that you’ll be able to safely secure your room is critical. In addition, there are features that can help protect your child from danger if they leave your sight.
These are a few of the features to look for if you’re concerned about wandering:
- Look for rooms that have multiple methods for locking the door, including a deadbolt and chained lock.
- Hotels with ample lighting both inside and outside will help your child stay visible, even at night.
- Security cameras can help you and hotel staff locate your child in an instant should they make their way out of your room.
- If you stay in a hotel with a pool, verify that it can only be accessed with a key and that the pool area cannot be entered after hours. Ideally, there should also always be a lifeguard on duty.
Standout Service Seals the Deal
Great service enriches any hotel stay, but it can be a true lifesaver when you’re traveling with a special needs child. In addition to the accommodations and features above, be sure to narrow down your hotel search based on their customer service reviews.
A hotel with a fabulous staff can:
- Move you to a room with fewer neighboring guests if outside noise overwhelms your child.
- Put you in touch with emergency medical services as soon as possible if your little one is prone to seizures or another recurring medical issue.
- Keep an eye out for a child who is prone to wandering.
- Offer ideas for kid-friendly activities nearby that will accommodate your child’s disability.
Other Comforting Considerations
Even the world’s most prepared parent can run into a hiccup or two when trying to ensure their kiddo feels at home while staying in a hotel. Luckily, opening up a conversation and packing a few extra essentials can help.
Here are a few other ways to make your little one’s hotel stay marvelously memorable:
- Showing your child photos of the hotel room and grounds ahead of time will help them know what to expect. Additionally, if he/she is on the autism spectrum, creating a social story is a great way to talk to them about your family’s upcoming travel plans, including your hotel stay.
- Bring along comforting items that you know will soothe your little one if they are feeling stressed. For example, sleeping with a soft, stuffed toy might be reassuring to a blind child who wakes up in the middle of the night to unfamiliar ambient noise, while a deaf child may appreciate being able to unwind by watching their favorite movie on a tablet device with closed captioning.
- A white noise machine will help drown out noise from neighboring rooms and the outdoors, which will be extremely helpful to a little one who normally sleeps with a fan or another source of ambient sound.
It’s easier than ever to find a fantastic hotel to stay in, even if you have a differently-abled kiddo. With a little forethought and our handy checklist, you’ll find the perfect accommodations for your entire family!
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