The full time RVers culture is so different than it was ten or fifteen years ago. The world of fulltime RVing is beginning to look like a cross section of America. Today, fulltimers are not just retired seniors. They include middle-aged working couples and young families with children. Some full timers have disabilities. And some of those are special needs children.
We don’t have any white picket fences or manicured lawns. But special needs kids do have the same needs as their house-dwelling counterparts. Full timing can be challenging for anyone with disabilities. Disabilities aside, these folks’ sense of adventure is as vibrant as anyone’s.
Accessibility for Special Needs Children
Fulltime families with special needs children face some of the toughest obstacles. Therapy, for example, isn’t quite as accessible on the road as at home. What’s encouraging is that more and more businesses are addressing the needs of every kind of disability. You’ll find equipment, support groups, products and supplies that improve accessibility to outdoors activities. A number of businesses even build or modify RVs to accommodate wheelchairs, walkers, and the limitations of many different handicaps.
Clearly outdoor activities like RVing benefit our health. And the benefits of RVing are much greater for special needs children. Traditional lifestyles may not offer as many opportunities for them to get out and explore. As one mother of a special needs child put it,
“Since we purchased our fifth-wheel, we now take long trips, go away typically twice a month, and enjoy a lot of quality time as a family. … and he has gained much independence because regardless of where you stay, there are different activities and amenities for your entire family to enjoy.”
She went on to describe how the fifth-wheel was familiar to him, and he felt at home traveling that way. Since he was able to tolerate traveling he also enjoyed the outdoor activities, just because he was more comfortable staying in the RV than in motels.
Another mother wants better accessibility for her son with cerebral palsy. He uses a walker but can only go so far. When camping in an RV, activities can be as close as outside your rig. And depending on where they stay, those activities can include adventures like fishing, watching wildlife, campfires, wading in a river, boating and things you just can’t do in the suburbs.
Some special needs children require therapies for ADD, ADHD, ODD or Autism. Evaluations and follow-up can be a real challenge for full timers. Yet, it may be entirely do-able with some careful planning. This may be a perfect scenario for telemedicine.
Resources for Special Needs Children
There are lots of resources to tap for both special needs children and anyone with disabilities. Here are just a few:
Access-Able Travel Source provides information about: disabled travel, wheelchair travel, disabled holidays, disability travel, handicapped travel, accessible travel, vacations for disabled, mature travel.
AbleData: Your source for assistive technology information. This site lists links to assistive products for play, sport, music, hunting and fishing, camping and caravanning, and many other resources.
AbleData Autism Information Center lists organizations, conferences, news and classifieds related to Autism.
Handicapped Travel Club is a website (and club you can join) dedicated to the interests of people with disabilities. It does focus more on RV travel, but that’s what you’re here looking for anyway, right? Visit their site and download an issue of their newsletter to see what they’ve been up to.
RV Lifestyle Experts: RV travel for the Physically Challenged. This site offers a variety of information from reasons why you should move into an RV, to budgeting, negotiating to buy that perfectly modified RV, and much more.
And if you’re looking for a way to finance your new life on the road visit our Ad Hoc Group website where you’ll find dozens of ways to make a living and the incredibly affordable training to learn how.