An Inspiring New Docuseries Is Changing the Narrative on Traveling on the Autism Spectrum

Family Travel
by Nickolaus Hines Apr 24, 2024

According to a study from Autism Travel, 87 percent of families with someone on the autism spectrum don’t travel. For most it’s not because of lack of desire, but because of a lack of sensory-friendly options. The new docuseries Traveling the Spectrum sheds a light on how choosing the right autism-friendly destination can make travel dreams a reality for those on the spectrum.

Certification programs like Autism Double Checked and Autism Travel are helping families navigate spectrum-friendly travel. Yet there’s still a long way to go when it comes to understanding what’s needed to make travel more accessible. With one study finding that 1 in 36 8-year-olds in the United States are on the spectrum, and the World Health Organization estimating that 1 in 100 children are on the spectrum worldwide, the more people can learn about the reality of traveling with autism the better.

Traveling the Spectrum focuses on three families who travel to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. The six episodes are a window into the challenges and joys each family encounters. There’s 28-year-old Max Tilk from Michigan, who, along with his brother Jake, has built a following on social media for showing his day-to-day life. Brayden Gielink, 14, travels from Ohio with his family. The youngest person the docuseries follows is Mikko Hill, a 2-year-old girl from Texas whose family hasn’t previously had the opportunity to travel.

Each episode is unscripted for a behind-the-scenes look as each family visits accessible activities and accommodations in the Myrtle Beach area. As Mikko’s dad, a military veteran, says in the trailer, it’s easy to get stuck in the comfort zone, but the “comfort zone can be detrimental.” Comfort zones are pushed, but considering the Myrtle Beach area was the first autism-friendly certified destination by Champion Autism Network, there are plenty of opportunities for exploration.

The Hill family on a boat ride in Traveling the Spectrum. Photo: Traveling the Spectrum

The trailer was recently released for a preview of what’s to come. However, the series has yet to be picked up by a major streaming service to make it available to a wide audience. On the Traveling the Spectrum site, you can pledge your support to show that this is the type of content that people want to see on their streaming feeds as the producers work to find placement. Ultimately, the series aims to “help pave the way for a future where every journey is accessible, and affirm that the stories and experiences of these families are valuable and necessary.” Giving an inside look at the realities of traveling on the spectrum is an important step in wider understanding.

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