Letting the train company take the strain

I couldn't take advantage of a cheaper train fare because the route involved lots of changes and a bus due to engineering works (I am a wheelchair user and get too tired to cope with a long journey). I rang National Rail customer services and they are sending travel vouchers to help with the difference in cost.

Map it out

We always tell Ben exactly where we're going in advance, so there are no surprises. We show him our route on the map, so he can check off towns and motorway exits as we go along. It keeps him occupied and happy!

Back seat screen

Remap has developed a screen to put between the back seats of a car to stop children disturbing each other.

The bag of "last resort"

We always travel with a bag of "last resort". It's tailored to each individual and contains their most desired treat. If we get stuck in traffic, roadworks or we are concerned that the person’s behaviour is escalating (and we've tried everything else) we use the "last resort" bag. It always helps.

Tinted windows

Tinted windows can help reduce uncomfortable glare and therefore might make the environment more comfortable. (I have been reliably informed that it's not as expensive as you think!)

Car travel

If someone is getting really agitated in the car, try dramatically changing the environment: open all the windows, turn the music up loud, create a distraction with funny antics.

Distract with a trabasack

A trabasack on the lap with toys will distract children from unbelting in cars or car seats. 

Houdini proof buckle up

Toby was always unbuckling his seatbelt. We just turn around the buckles on the car seat which stops him. In the event of an accident, firemen just cut the belt, they never undo the buckle, so there is no problem with getting out in an emergency.

Crelling harness

Individually handmade belts and harnesses for vehicles, wheelchairs, walking - practically any situation you can think of. See www.crelling.com for more information.

Buckle Boss

To keep a child or adult from undoing a standard seatbelt, purchase a Buckle Boss. It's a device which fits over the part containing the red button. Easily opened with a car key or lolly stick (or similar) but impossible with just fingers.

In the car

Understanding the source of our son's car stress has helped. He dislikes the smell of the car, the noises, being restrained etc. So we use his comfort items, blankets around him, ear defenders, blinds on windows and go for neutralising rather than strong air fresheners. Over time our son has got much better with car journeys.

Limit distractions

Driver distraction can create very dangerous situations. Think of ways to reduce persistent distracting behaviours, such as throwing items from the back seat to the front of the car. I typically sit in the back seat with the kids so that my husband can focus on driving safely.

Draw a line

We've just bought a new rear access Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle. I've found it helpful to put some gaffa tape on the floor marking where the back wheels of the chair should be positioned. This makes it much quicker and easier doing all the clips and seatbelts. Plus I know the boot will shut.

Don't assume they know

If your child travels on school transport, make sure the transport department is aware of any special needs they may have, such as epilepsy or sensory issues, so they can pass these on to the carers who travel with them. Don’t assume they know.

Reserve a parking spot

Lots of places have reserved disabled parking in their staff car parks. Phone ahead and try and book yourself a spot.

Handy toys

When travelling in the car attach favourite toys to long springy keyrings or ribbons. I clip these onto a loop of elastic around the headrest. This way everything stays within their reach!

Whiteboards for long journeys

Magnetic whiteboards are great for long car journeys. You can pick up small ones from supermarkets and stationers, and magnetic numbers and letters and play without the mess of felt tips and crayons.

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Using these tips

These tips have been contributed by members of our online community. We hope they will give you some ideas to try, but if you need further help why not post a question to the community or talk to one of our community advisors. If you have any concerns about your health or the wellbeing of someone you are caring for, please consult a doctor or qualified professional.

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