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Travelling with a Jude

AliceS Community member Posts: 14 Courageous

Alice blogs about family life with her 3 children including 10 year old son Jude. Jude has severe learning disabilities and attends a special needs school. He was born with Microcephaly and thus has Global Development Delay and undiagnosed autism.

So I was asked if I’d like to write about travel and at first I was really stuck with what to talk about but then I had a bit of a reminder of a talent Jude displayed from a very young age. The ability to sense (or perhaps see) direction. Pretty fortunate talent really seeing as I’m entirely capable of losing myself or even my car in the most simple of locations and have been known to wander aimlessly up the ramps in car parks desperately pressing my alarm fob in the hope of seeing a flashing light somewhere.

When Jude was ten months old we began visiting a Paediatrician in Cambridge. To find the Children’s Centre you had to navigate a matrix of corridors and stairs to reach your destination from the multi-storey carpark. It was a nightmare for me. If it wasn’t for the hospital signage then I would never have made it on time for any of our appointments. We started visiting the Children’s Centre more frequently as Jude was enrolled in Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy sessions and then eventually Music Therapy as well. It was brilliant! Jude was bestowed pretty much anything he needed through the Children’s Centre on an almost immediate basis.  

Young boy smiling at camera with his seatbelt on, wearing a red shirt

My point of telling you all of this is to highlight the fact we were pretty regular visitors to the centre and would drive up there a couple of times a week. Fast forward a few months and Jude, who was probably about twenty months by now and trying to walk independently could literally direct himself to the centre himself without any input from me. My mum used to come with me for many of the appointments for a bit of moral support and we’d often test Jude by not guiding him and letting him lead us and he’d always get it correct first time!

Another way he displays this talent is when we’re in the car. From a very young age he’s been able to tell you how to get places or point out “points of interest” that are apparent in his life. For example, he always looks intently down significant roads as we drive past or if I say we’re going to the doctors but I drive a different route, Jude becomes a bit anxious and asks where we’re going. Nowadays, he will say “my school is that way” when we drive past the road his taxi driver used to always go down en route to school or he’ll say “doctors is over there” when we drive through town. I’ve challenged him by approaching places from different directions and he always knows exactly where we are. It’s quite amazing, seeing as I often have no clue at all.

Young boy with blue zip up jacket smiling at camera, with young toddler in car seat on the right looking at him

Jude loves to travel. Going for a car ride actually helps to calm him down when he’s feeling a bit anxious or he’s had a terrible melt down; sometimes he likes to just sit in the car and listen to the radio as he knows it works as a soothing mechanism. It’s always been that way. So many toddlers hate getting in the car but for Jude it was always a treat. He was a terrible sleeper as a young baby but putting him in his car seat was an instant way of getting him to sleep, I think the movement and vibrations really affects him and his overtly sensorial needs. I’m pretty sure this is why Jude is totally obsessed with lifts and going up and down lifts, it’s that same sense of movement around your body.

Anyway, that’s Jude and travel. He loves it and will sit happily watching out the window for a car journey of any length of time. It’s during these car journeys that I’m most able to have detailed conversations with Jude and receive actual responses from him that habitually just don’t come naturally so on a parental level, I love our time in the car together. 

Do your children like to travel? Do you find it helps calm your children? Tell me about your travel experiences.

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