We have always loved to travel.
Before having our three kids we had no idea how easy we had it. When we started traveling with our first child we were exhausted and thought that we would never leave the house again–car seats, baby paraphernalia, diapers, bottles etc. When our second child came along, we continued to take our yearly trip to a warm place to try to get through the long New England winters.
However, when our third child was born this was when we discovered we were completely outnumbered. We had three kids in four years–always two in diapers—we needed to completely change how we traveled–otherwise we would never leave town. (You will read about these strategies in the Trip Planning section. )
Just when we thought we had it all figured out, when our youngest was only 8 months old we took an assignment in Geneva, Switzerland. A very exciting placement since I am comfortable speaking French and we wanted our children to be bilingual. It was during this assignment that we noticed unusual changes in our youngest son’s behavior. The drastic changes led us back to the states where we first heard the “A” word.
At the time, the internet was new. The doctors we talked to seemed to be learning about autism along with us. We relied on the internet as our main source of information to research autism. The more we read, the more frightened and depressed we became.
How could this be happening? I am sure that many of you reading this website have experienced these exact emotions. Our immediate reaction was: “how can I fix this” “how long with this last”. Relatives told us not to worry, and that “he’ll grow out of it”.
When we finally realized that the “autism” wasn’t going away, that we were faced with a lifetime of challenges, that’s when we hit the wall. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. We had to focus on a strategy to help our son, and decided to return home from our assignment in Geneva.
Overwhelmed by meetings with doctors, therapists and consultants we realized that we wouldn’t survive without some sort of escape. This was when we planned our first trip with our autistic son and we have been traveling and learning ever since.
Grace Ann Baresich
Founder Autistic Traveler LLC