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Special needs means special planning for an outing

At the park.
At the park.

Most parents learn early on that having children means having to plan more in advance. When you were just a couple, you could just grab your car keys and go. That freedom ends quickly as you lug car seat, diaper bag, bottles, and stroller out to the car for a “spontaneous” outing. So, you start to think ahead to what you will be doing, how long you will be gone, and what your child will need for the duration.

When your outing includes a child with special needs, you may have to think ahead even further. In addition to the usual baby paraphernalia, you may have to bring medication, walking aids, special seating devices, monitors, and even oxygen. These extras can make an outing with your child seem daunting.

Some parents of children with special needs have found that a checklist can be helpful. Post this list prominently, so that you don’t have to go looking for it when you want to leave the house. In some cases, depending on the situation, you might want to have duplicates of some items all packed up and ready to go. For instance, a child with asthma usually needs rescue medications, in addition to the regular daily medications. Depending on your child's needs, your “go bag” can contain a second set of all the meds, your Epipen, an extra can of special formula, and even a second nebulizer if you can afford it. The more you can have in the bag regularly, the easier it will be to get out without major trauma.

Another important part of planning ahead is to consider when is the best time to leave the house. If feeding is a difficult procedure, plan to go out just after a feeding and return before the next. And, finally, choose your destination carefully. An amusement park may not be the best place to take a child who has sensory issues. A quieter park or a visit to a friend may be better for your outing.

Here is a place to find out about fun things to do with kids in Miami: