Subscribe now and recieve 50% off all our ebooks as well as updates on all our online special needs resources.
Margalit
BY Margalit

Five Great Caribbean Vacation Activities for Children with Special Needs

Back in the seventies and eighties the Caribbean Islands were famous as a romantic destination for those seeking to enjoy sparkling water and powdery sand beaches. Since then things have changed.

Nowadays, the Caribbean is a top-notch family vacation spot offering a plethora of outdoor activities suitable for all ages and abilities. In fact, taking your child with special needs on a Caribbean cruise can provide the ideal opportunity for you to introduce him or her to new sensory experiences and bond as a family.  

If you are planning that Caribbean getaway and feel that your special needs child is water safe, able to handle moderate sized crowds and enjoys roller thrill rides , then you might want to try some new and exciting activities with them. Here are our top five suggestions.

StingraysSwimming with Stingrays

Location:
Georgetown, Grand Cayman

The Experience:
Interacting with southern stingrays that can be hand fed, petted even kissed.

Suitable:
For kids who are either tall enough to stand in the water (must be 5 feet or taller), can swim and are able to wear an inflatable life vest .

Preparing your Child
Many people don’t realize how large stingrays actually are till they encounter one. Reassure your Child that you will be with them at all times so they don’t become apprehensive and warn them about  stepping on the  stingrays.

Accommodation:
Share any concern or needs with the guides when you board the boat that takes you to the sandbar. In our son’s case a staff member followed my son around and  was very helpful in getting him over his fears of touching the stingray.

Tip:
Don’t forget to bring sunscreen and Aloe Vera along in case of sun burn.

Sea TrekkingSea Trekking

Location:
Georgetown, Grand Cayman

The experience:
Called by some an alternative to scuba diving, sea trekking is like a guided walk on the surface of the Ocean.

Suitable:
For kids over eight who are  not only water safe but comfortable with wearing a helmet that completely their heads and face.

Preparing your Child:
If your child is not accustomed to wearing a helmet, you need to have them practice wearing one. Find Google pictures and videos to show your kid the gear used for Sea Trekking to give them an idea of what to expect. Participants in this activity are expected to walk in a group and not pull on the tubes that provide oxygen once under water. Furthermore, you should prepare your child to the fact that a staff member will be accompanying them during the descent into the water and the ascent back to the boat without you.

Accommodations:
The ultra supportive staff is accustomed to fearful tourists and will help you with any concerns you have.

Tips
Some participants can experience minor sinus pressure during the descent so if you are an allergy sufferer like me; you may want to use an over the counter decongestant that day. It might be a good idea to have your child escorted into the water before you in case any issues arise, and they need to return to the boat.

AtlantisThe Aqua Adventure

Location:
Atlantis Resort Paradise Island Bahamas

The experience: 
Envision a 141-acre water park packed with Mayan towers, 200-foot high-speed water slides, eleven pools and a one-mile lazy river ride. But what really sets this place apart are the clear tubes running through shark tanks and conveyor belts that propel you back up the 50 foot high tower once you’ve completed your water slide descent.

Suitable:
The water park is geared towards different ages and abilities from thrill seekers like ‘The Drop’ and ‘Serpent Ride’ to those who can’t swim and want to play in knee high water like ‘Splatters’ .If your child with special needs is not comfortable  around water you can still enjoy visiting the resort’s aquarium called ‘The Dig’ and neighboring ‘Fish Hospital’ for a chance to interact with the daily ‘patients’.

Preparing your Child:
Just like before any other theme park visit ,it is best you show your child pictures or videos  of the place so they can  become familiar with the property.

Accommodation:
Be sure to mention any accommodations your child may need to staff. If they can’t help you; don’t hesitate to address it with the hotel customer service personnel.

Tips:
If you decide to visit the resort, you should book and buy tickets in advance since the resort caps the amount of people it lets in and tickets are likely to sell out especially during the high season and holidays. Like other theme parks, the resort does tend to get crowded at times so it is a good idea to have your child wear an ID bracelet or screenable tag, in case they get separated from you.

Para SailingParasailing

Location:
Disney’s Castaway Cay, Bahamas

The experience:
As close to a flying experience you can get on vacation.

Suitable:
For thrill seeking kids over eight who enjoy roller coasters and can tolerate a harness.

Preparing your child:
It is pertinent that you explain the parasailing concept to your child using pictures and YouTube videos. What we particularly liked about this venue is that two people can parasail in tandem so your child doesn’t have to go on their own.

Accommodations:
Disney destinations are famous for catering to families and this is one is no exception, so avoiding waiting in line for this attraction or any other on Castaway Cay can be accommodated if you let the staff know your child has special needs.

Tips:
If your child is has difficulty with heat I would suggest renting a cabana for the day. A Cabana comes stocked with bottled water, soft drinks, cold towels, snacks and even a steward! You need to bring along a pair of close toe water shoes for the ride.

Zip LiningZip lining

Location: Royal Caribbean’s Labadee Island, Haiti

The experience
Fast paced sliding from the top of a mountain to the gorgeous Caribbean beach below.

Suitable
For the adrenalin junkies ten and up crowd who can tolerate a harness, and follow basic instructions.

Preparing your Child:
Bear in mind that this is a one-person zip line so your child needs to be able to do this on his own. Remind your child to listen carefully to the instructions given and never grab the cable in front of them to break the ride since that can lead to serious injuries.

Accommodations
Staff members do take the time to make sure participants understand the safety procedures. If your child suffers from seizures or any other physical disability, you should check the cruise lines’ guidelines before booking.

Tips
Don’t forget to pack a pair of water shoes or any other closed toe shoes your child is comfortable wearing for the ride. If you think, the harness will bother your him you might want to bring a pair of long pants as well. For travelers with mobility issues, Royal Caribbean supplies special beach wheelchairs, and the resort has cemented walkways for easy navigation.


Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML(): Opening and ending tag mismatch: meta line 7 and head in Entity, line: 22 in /home/fcmichig/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/fcblog17/single.php on line 159

Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML(): Entity 'bull' not defined in Entity, line: 34 in /home/fcmichig/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/fcblog17/single.php on line 159

Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML(): Entity 'bull' not defined in Entity, line: 96 in /home/fcmichig/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/fcblog17/single.php on line 159

Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML(): Entity 'bull' not defined in Entity, line: 98 in /home/fcmichig/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/fcblog17/single.php on line 159

Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML(): Opening and ending tag mismatch: head line 6 and html in Entity, line: 108 in /home/fcmichig/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/fcblog17/single.php on line 159

Warning: DOMDocument::loadXML(): Premature end of data in tag html line 5 in Entity, line: 109 in /home/fcmichig/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/fcblog17/single.php on line 159

Latest Special Needs Products



Margalit

Written on April 28, 2014 by:

Margalit Sturm Francus has lived in five different countries on three continents. In 2009, she established a nonprofit website, Autistic Globetrotting, to inspire and encourage autistic families to explore the world. Her articles have appeared in many media publications, including Travelingmom.com , SATH and Autisable By communicating with both the autistic and travel communities, she aims to raise autism awareness and facilitate the implementation of much needed accommodations for special needs travelers.
Categories

Notice: Use of undefined constant fbTracking - assumed 'fbTracking' in /home/fcmichig/public_html/blog/wp-content/themes/fcblog17/footer.php on line 52