By Jackson Beach
Travel is a very essential part of our lives. It can happen for business trips, visiting family, or even to have fun exploring popular places, people and families they have never seen before. However, autistic people usually have trouble with travel. This is because they feel where they live is a safe space and are worried bad things will happen on the trip like injury or death.
Some of these individuals don’t feel like going out of irrational fear that it will mess up the weekly routines and schedules full of rigidity they have set for themselves. We set up rituals, as per Dr. Christine’s mentoring full of special interests and job training that engages all of us.
I have felt this way because of these reasons as well as not knowing what to expect from the unique trips I go on with my family and the long car rides which last from 9 to 11 hours. These behaviors have been very irritating to my family which has spent lots of time planning these trips. This was shown when my family went to North and South Carolina during the early days of the pandemic, which saw many tourist attractions shut down for others’ safety. However, we still managed to make the most of our trip and have fun. This problem regarding autistic people has become more prominent recently due to the world opening up again after two years of suffering under COVID-19.
However, Autisticana and Newsmakers have a plan to combat this behavior. Recently, we have been reaching out to several RV companies to rent an RV for traveling around several states in the US’s Northeast region, such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island and doing activities on Long Island.
Christine Grimaldi spent her personal money to buy a van to travel with so she could do a travel documentary to make other people aware of the needs of autistic individuals and traveling. We were so excited to have a travel van but Christine realized that this purchase, costing $92,000, would not satisfy our needs as far as space, comfort, and everyone’s safety.
We are reaching out to look for a sponsor to show that neuro-divergent people can have the same opportunities with traveling and downtime as their neurotypical counterparts. Dr. Christine is ready to turn in her $92,000 van for a larger, safer, and more comfortable ride.
When we get the RV we want to travel and make a documentary in this vehicle, to help bring awareness to millions of talented people on the spectrum and their families.
The Newsmakers’ and my own angst about traveling to other states, should be recognized and addressed. Christine is teaching us the strategies of happy traveling and documenting our wonderful experiences. Without her, we would never have had this rare opportunity. During and after COVID went away we felt safe because we were and are, in a safe space together, with our enrichment center that Christine built for us that has become our home.
We want opportunities like the ones we are experiencing and now, the ability to travel like our typical peers. We rarely get these opportunities and other autistic and neuro-divergent people feel the same way
As Dr. Christine Grimaldi says, “We are stronger as a team than we are alone.”
Stay tuned for our new documentary Spectrum Strategies for Traveling