Autism and Vacation

Carrie Cariello

Last week my husband Joe and I took five red suitcases, four messy boys, and one pink girl on a Caribbean vacation.

As soon as our second son, Jack, climbed into the shuttle to the airport, he made an announcement to the driver.

“None of us. Smoke tobacco.”

The driver looked back at me in the dim light of the van. It was 3:30 am, and I imagine this was not the sort of conversation he expected to have with a 10-year old.

I smiled weakly.

“Uh, he’s right. None of us—we don’t use tobacco.”

Taking Jack and his autism on vacation is like bringing a fragile, anxious little fish out of a tiny backyard pond and throwing him into the ocean. You just keep your fingers crossed that he can handle a different schedule and change in scenery without getting swept away in a riptide of tantrums, meltdowns…

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