07/07/2014 05:27 pm ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

How to Ask for Special Considerations When Traveling With Your Special Needs Child

It's such a sensitive subject and often embarrassing for parents to even ask, but sometimes so necessary. In a time where so many people are traveling and experiencing all that life has to offer it is hard for families with special needs children to participate. The lines are so long, the noise level can be through the roof and navigating through the millions of people can be overwhelming. On a recent trip to NYC with my children, I was surprisingly delighted by the response I received to "the question." We traveled over Memorial Day weekend and the first place that we went to visit was the Empire State Building. There was a 90 minute wait and as I stood in line it became evident that my daughter, who has Atypical Rett Syndrome, would not be able to tolerate the wait time. For a moment, I thought we would just get out of line and leave but I really wanted her to experience the view. I sought out an employee that was monitoring the lines and asked politely if there was anything that they offered for a child with special needs to speed up the process. I explained to him that she could not tolerate the long lines. He immediately opened the waiting line divider and brought us to the front of the line. He explained to the elevator operator and away we went to the top. It was wonderful and I was so relieved. I was able to give my daughter the experience instead of having to leave. She absolutely loved the view!

Throughout the weekend, I continued to encounter very long lines. At each place I found the person in charge and politely explained my situation. It was important for me to tell him that my daughter could not tolerate the long lines and in all cases we were given front of the line access.

I cannot guarantee that every time you ask the question that you will receive the same treatment but what I can say is that it never hurts to ask. Always be polite, always explain the situation with your child and always be thankful. Having this ability allows our children to have some amazing experiences that they otherwise would not be able to enjoy.

Happy Travels!