It's as simple as that. We make a point of taking earplugs whenever we visit an amusement park or a water park or any other place that's crowded with people, voices, sights, smells and sensations that might be overwhelming to Joseph.
Joseph doesn't have a problem with sounds in general (although high pitched and sudden loud noises bother him) but the ear plugs help him filter out some of the sensations bombarding him. When we hear the dull roar of an amusement park he hears a kid asking for cotton candy, the squeal of a roller coaster, a cash register ringing, the clink of ice dropping into a cup, a teenager laughing, a baby crying, all of that multiplied times a million. The earplugs help him filter out the "extra" noises and let him focus on other sensations. He can see more, experience more, when he has to hear less.
As an added bonus, for some reason when he's wearing the earplugs he able to modulate his voice better. I don't know if it's because he's able to hear himself better or what it is. What I do know is that with his earplugs in he's able to use his "indoor voice" and "outdoor voice" more appropriately.
Also, Joseph's behavior in general is better when he's wearing earplugs. He has fewer meltdowns and he even seems less "rigid". Again, I'm not sure why it works but I'm sure glad it does.
Certainly some kids with Aspergers may be bothered by the sensation of having earplugs but Joseph enjoys the benefits of them so much that he doesn't mind wearing them at all. In fact, on our recent trip to California he asked for them if we forgot to offer them.
So there you have it, my number one tip for traveling with a child with Aspergers: earplugs. Hey, it's worth a try right?
Two years ago today I had a wild weekend.
Four years ago today Joseph came home from a trip.
Five years ago today I was so BORING.