One of our amazing staff members, Michael Shashaty, had the pleasure of traveling on the Autism Cruise over the summer.

Prior to this summer, I had never been on a plane. Before that, I had visited only a handful of states. Traveling was not something I envisioned myself doing, and certainly not to another country.

Autism has provided me with many blessings in life: a career, friends, colleagues and a purpose. A few weeks ago, I found myself on the most breath-taking island in the world, swimming alongside fish in crystal blue lagoons and conversing with people from different parts of the world. All of this impossible without the talented, eccentric and intelligent children we accompanied.

Our cruise ship to The Bermuda Islands provided unique and humbling challenges to both the families and the professionals who were trusted with supporting our kiddos on a boat, at sea & in a different part of the world.

From the “emergency kits” which included zip lock bags, tape, super glue, 8 sharpened pencils & a Mystery Mousketool, to the endless special requests for french fries with extra salt for all 3 meals and specific brands of apple juice or else the Coast Guard might need to be summoned. (Have a summarizing sentence here – Something like, Even with these challenges and eccentric requests, our kids and everyone accompanying them made this a vacation never to be forgotten).

As challenges were met on the trip with the applied sciences we have all come to know and practice, the learning never ceased. In most cases; as professionals, we are unaware of what family life is like for those with Autism. On this trip, the support and learning that was shared between the families and professionals provided tools necessary to help those eccentric, intelligent and talented children become the best possible versions of themselves. All of this while aboard a hotel on the sea, their toes buried in the world’s softest sand and becoming professional cruisers: one routine at a time.