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Travel is one of the ways through which autistic teens can begin to establish their independence, whether it be through learning how to catch buses or trains on their own, or even learning how to drive a car.

Eager or Uncertain?

The teen in your life might be eager to begin forging their independence, or they might be a little unsure of it all.

If your teen falls into the latter, and is a bit uncertain about learning travel skills, it’s good to establish the reason for independent travel. When we understand ‘WHY’, it gives us a reason to want to learn. This ‘why’ could be about things like:

  • Preparing for when they want to get a job and travel to work.
  • Travelling to school or to visit friends.
  • Travelling to do the grocery shopping.

Different methods of travel

Help your teen to work out their preferred method of travel.

If your teen is showing interest in driving, think about whether they will have access to a car for getting themselves around once they have their licence, or whether they will need to buy their own car.

Depending on whether they can afford the costs that come with a car, this might help you work out if they also need skills for catching a bus, train or taxi.

Break the steps down

Learning to catch a bus or drive a car involves lots of steps. We generally don’t just head to the bus stop or train station without a plan of where we’re going, or how we’re going to buy a ticket. Just as we don’t simply get in a car and expect to know how to drive it without first learning what we need to do.

Try to make solo travel as predictable as possible! The more we break down the steps, the clearer it will be for the teen learning and the easier it will be to make sure we’re fully supporting learning. We’ll also be able to pinpoint areas where our teens might need extra help.

Introduce with support

Find someone who can help – this might be yourself as a parent, grandparent or teacher, or it might be another family member or friend.

Provide visuals / cues for back up

Having a visual list of what to do at each step of the travel process can help lower any anxiety about travel, and can provide some structure around learning what to do.

Allow a time frame that suits the person

Everyone learns at their own pace – be sure to work to the pace that best suits your teen!

Written by Elissa Plumridge

You can watch the video HERE

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