Trip to Wonderful

Friday, March 04, 2005

All Aboard!

Since Dwight has been discussing travel by planes and automobiles, I thought I'd fill in the missing method of transport in the trilogy, trains.

Autistic children generally love trains. Well, at least mine do. Okay, so they love the Brio kind. Jonah can take up our entire living room floor with elaborate rail configurations, often elevated with the help of soup cans, books and anything else he finds in his immediate vicinity.

But I digress. Train travel is often well suited for children with developmental or neurological special needs, as it allows more mobility (and energy release) than planes or cars, where kids are not only stuck in their seats, but generally strapped into car seats as well. The rhythmic movement of the train as it chugs along the tracks can be soothing to kids craving a varied sensory and auditory diet. And although it may be a bit much for those children with sensitive hearing, ear plugs or earphones can help significantly in that area.

Amtrak offers special discounts for disabled customers (15% on weekends, 25% during the week), but their kids fares are a much better deal at 50%, with up to two kids travelling per adult. Just in time for Spring vacations, Amtrak has an even better deal for families along the East Coast. When two adults pay full price, up to four children under 18 ride for 90% off the full-price fare. Details can be found at Amtrak.com, or here.

Greyhound and other bus companies offer discounts for children and disabled riders, but there's nothing like a train for moderate distances with special needs kids.

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