I'm going to try to write a little every day about our week long trip with Janey, to remember it and to share how it goes and anything I might discover about traveling with autism along for the ride!
This is the first trip we've attempted with Janey since she was 3, when she was diagnosed with autism. Her diagnosis actually came soon after our last long trip, a 3 week cross-country one. In some part of my mind, the part that likes to blame myself for things, I wonder if the trip had some part in her rapid decline at that point. I don't think so, but for that reason and much more just because even short trips with Janey were tough for years, we haven't travelled more than a night or two since, and not much of even that.
For this trip, we will be gone 7 nights, in 5 different hotels. There will be quite a lot of driving, as we go from Boston to the Toledo, OH area.
We got on the road today about 9, and arrived here in Scranton, PA about 5. What would be normally a bit over a 4 hour drive took us 8, but that was okay, as it was necessary to keep Janey happy, which, for the most part, she was. Most of our stops were to deal with something that was upsetting her that swe couldn't do while driving. She has her special pillow with her, and sometimes, it had to be next to her, while other times, it had to be out of sight in the luggage area. I don't know why, I think only Janey's OCD knows why, but we stopped to fix that a couple times, as well as put in and take out her ponytail. A few times, she screamed "WANT THAT SONG!" but wasn't able to say what song it was. Luckily, I suggested a few songs and either got it right or made her think of another one that would work.
The most upset she got was in the hotel room, with her iPad. She wanted to watch YouTube Kids, but I hadn't set the wi-fi yet. She came close to biting me, but I evaded it and got the iPad going. I think by that point she was just burnt out, and wanted to do something that felt like home, and once she did, she was calm.
We promised her swimming at the hotel, but she has fallen asleep before we could go, so we'll do that in the morning. I hope she sleeps well.
Tony and I have talked about how this trip goes will be something we are paying close attention to, as what we hope to do when he retires is a lot more trips like this, to see the country. We are low-key travellers, often happy with looking at car scenery, eating fast food and swimming in hotel pools, and if we can do that more in 5 years or so, we'll be happy. If not, we'll make another plan, as Janey's happiness is a necessary part of our happiness. We are encouraged by the many big smiles we saw today, on what was mostly a good start to the week. Tune in tomorrow!