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Trinity4evr

Cruiseing with a Toddler with autism

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We are cruising in May with Carnival. Our two-year-old was diagnosed on the spectrum recently. We were just kind of looking for some advice. Currently he has a limited vocabulary. But he is very self-sufficient and can gesture for what he wants. He’s not a big fan of loud noises. You wouldn’t even be able to recognize him from a typical kid. We’re just looking for any advice.

Edited by Trinity4evr

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I would look at the special needs forum here and gleen information and tips from  google.....those who have done cruises called Autism of the Seas

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We cruised with our middle son who has Asperger's when he was a teen and we made sure to avoid his triggers as much as possible. He had a great time. For your son avoiding loud noises is of course key (and I'm not sure how loud it needs to be but maybe he can tolerate the noise around the pool but the ship's whistle would be too much). If he has a comfort item that helps you would of course want to make sure it's available. Finally he may or may not want to participate in the kid's club, which is something our son had no interest in. Hope you all have a blast!

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I also encourage you to check out Autism on the Seas. This organization was started in partnership with Royal Caribbean but has expanded to other cruise lines. They offer staff assisted cruises but they also offer non-staff assisted information and packages. It’s my understanding that if you’re sailing on a non-staffed cruise, the information and packages provided will be free of cost if you’ve booked your cruise through them. Their website also provides free literature and videos that hopefully will at least guide you in the right direction for future cruises as your child grows up. 

 

Hope you have a great cruise!

Edited by Tapi

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Hi Trinity4evr!

 

I'm also the mom of an autistic kiddo (he's almost 15) and I would definitely call Carnival (or your TA) and make sure you're on the list to attend the special needs safety briefing as opposed to the regular safety briefing. It's a bit quieter and usually held indoors (the ones we've attended were either in the library, one of the clubs or in a dining room) and much easier for kiddos to deal with.

 

If he uses sound reducing headphones, make sure to bring them with you. 🙂 Also, if he has any special food needs, don't hesitate to talk to the maitre' d on day 1 (embarkation day) to help get those sorted out.

 

One of the reasons we love cruising with Carnival is that it's very easy for us to switch off so that both of us don't have to be with our son (and each other because honestly? There's only so much family togetherness we can stand, yanno? 😄 )all the time. We coordinate our schedules for the day using the daily FunTimes, so we can figure out what activities we want to go do that day and when.

 

Please don't hesitate to PM me or even stop by my blog (the link is in my signature below). I'd be happy to help in whatever way I can, because us special needs mamas gotta stick together, yanno? 

 

A fair wind and a following sea to you.

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On 1/17/2019 at 8:51 AM, IPlayWithString said:

IPlayWithString. I hope this finds you. I agree us special needs moms need to stick together. your help is greatly appreciated. I am really nervous. I would love to PM you but for some reason I can't. I would love to be able to talk for further questions. 

 

Hi Trinity4evr!

 

I'm also the mom of an autistic kiddo (he's almost 15) and I would definitely call Carnival (or your TA) and make sure you're on the list to attend the special needs safety briefing as opposed to the regular safety briefing. It's a bit quieter and usually held indoors (the ones we've attended were either in the library, one of the clubs or in a dining room) and much easier for kiddos to deal with.

 

If he uses sound reducing headphones, make sure to bring them with you. 🙂 Also, if he has any special food needs, don't hesitate to talk to the maitre' d on day 1 (embarkation day) to help get those sorted out.

 

One of the reasons we love cruising with Carnival is that it's very easy for us to switch off so that both of us don't have to be with our son (and each other because honestly? There's only so much family togetherness we can stand, yanno? 😄 )all the time. We coordinate our schedules for the day using the daily FunTimes, so we can figure out what activities we want to go do that day and when.

 

Please don't hesitate to PM me or even stop by my blog (the link is in my signature below). I'd be happy to help in whatever way I can, because us special needs mamas gotta stick together, yanno? 

 

A fair wind and a following sea to you.

 

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It found me. 🙂

 

You can either keep responding here or go to my blog (which is in my signature below) and drop me a note. 🙂

 

No worries. I've been doing the whole "take your autistic child on vacation to places that are definitely absolutely 10000% triggering because of reasons" thing since he was 4 and we took him to Disney World. 😄 I'm kind of like Tyrion Lannister at this point...I drink (coffee) and I know things. That's what I do.

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On 1/20/2019 at 7:01 AM, IPlayWithString said:

It found me. 🙂

 

You can either keep responding here or go to my blog (which is in my signature below) and drop me a note. 🙂

 

No worries. I've been doing the whole "take your autistic child on vacation to places that are definitely absolutely 10000% triggering because of reasons" thing since he was 4 and we took him to Disney World. 😄 I'm kind of like Tyrion Lannister at this point...I drink (coffee) and I know things. That's what I do.

I tried to figure out how to drop you a note on your blog but couldn't figure out how...lol

I had a question did you issues with carnival camp ocean. we cruise in a few weeks and I am really nervous on how they will handle our son. I just want to be sure they aren't calling us every five seconds. this is our little break from the world. any advice or assurance will be good.

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If your little one won't do the Camp alone I believe the Camp facilities are open for some time each day for little ones and their parent to play with the toys.  Might be worth asking the first day when they have the organizational meeting at the camp facilities.

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3 hours ago, Trinity4evr said:

I tried to figure out how to drop you a note on your blog but couldn't figure out how...lol

I had a question did you issues with carnival camp ocean. we cruise in a few weeks and I am really nervous on how they will handle our son. I just want to be sure they aren't calling us every five seconds. this is our little break from the world. any advice or assurance will be good.

We've actually never used camp on Carnival because the first time we sailed, he was 9 and we questioned them on embark day about how they'd handle certain situations. We weren't satisfied with their answers so we've never chosen to utilize that particular option.

 

One of the reasons we have always found cruising to be a good option for us is that if one of us wants to take a break for a little while, we can. So like Hubs and Son will go play trivia and I'll go to tea, so I have an hour or so of grownup time to have actual grown up food and grown up conversation. 

 

I think if the child is very young (like a toddler), they'll handle it better than they would have an older child like mine was the first time we sailed.

 

Also..I know that you said you sail soon but maybe file this thought away for future vacations, but check out Autism On the Seas. This is their bread and butter and they'll send what is essentially a nanny/babysitter with you, so that you can have respite throughout the cruise instead of having to always be with your child. We've never used them, because we've never felt the need honestly (we're pretty good about handling stuff ourselves for the most part) but I think if maybe they'd be of use to you or you want to use that kind of service, absolutely go ahead and do it! Our lives as special needs parents are hard enough as it is! 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, IPlayWithString said:

We have looked at Autism on the Seas. Their schedule doesn’t work with ours sadly. 

 

 

 

We've actually never used camp on Carnival because the first time we sailed, he was 9 and we questioned them on embark day about how they'd handle certain situations. We weren't satisfied with their answers so we've never chosen to utilize that particular option.

 

One of the reasons we have always found cruising to be a good option for us is that if one of us wants to take a break for a little while, we can. So like Hubs and Son will go play trivia and I'll go to tea, so I have an hour or so of grownup time to have actual grown up food and grown up conversation. 

 

I think if the child is very young (like a toddler), they'll handle it better than they would have an older child like mine was the first time we sailed.

 

Also..I know that you said you sail soon but maybe file this thought away for future vacations, but check out Autism On the Seas. This is their bread and butter and they'll send what is essentially a nanny/babysitter with you, so that you can have respite throughout the cruise instead of having to always be with your child. We've never used them, because we've never felt the need honestly (we're pretty good about handling stuff ourselves for the most part) but I think if maybe they'd be of use to you or you want to use that kind of service, absolutely go ahead and do it! Our lives as special needs parents are hard enough as it is! 

 

 

 

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Autism On the Seas is the best, contact them, let them know what triggers your child, and they will work with the cruise line to make sure everything goes as smooth as possible, My son hates to wait for anything, they made sure we got on board fast, we never had to wait to get a seat for meals, and never had to wait on food, It came right out, we had a table to ourselves also, 

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I have a special needs child who has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome which manifests very similar to Autism. I have done non group cruise with Autism on the Seas and have determined that everything they did for us we could do on our own by contacting special needs. The special Needs Dept can arrange for expedited boarding, alternative safety drill and can help with dietary needs. As far as Camp Carnival, meet with the lead counselor the first day and let them know about your child. They will have you fill out a form and then you can all decide what is right for your child. If you do decide to use Camp Carnival, you'll be given a phone for you to contact them and for them to contact you.  We have never had a y problems with Carnival.  Enjoy your cruise.

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