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Reviews Special Needs

Road Trips, #Autism & The Toyota Sienna

Last week I shared our road trip with the Toyota Sienna we were loaned for review. We had an amazing time during our 10 day vacation. Let me tell you, vacationing with an autistic son isn’t easy, and then add in the fact he’s stuck in a car for 14 hours each way?! I was expecting the worst. 

Toyota Sienna Review

In the past we’ve taken our SUV. Granted it seats the same amount of people as the Sienna, but it’s not as roomy and no DVD system or navigation. Because of the cramped space, Brady has a more difficult time traveling for long distances. Being six years-old is a big factor in that, then throw in his autism and other disabilities and it’s not so fun. 

I was pleasantly surprised at how well he did in the Sienna! We traveled 10 hours the first day, 5 the next and 14 hours in one day on the way home and he didn’t complain once! Some features of the Sienna really helped with that. Here is a list of how the Sienna helped make traveling with autism a breeze.

  • Roomy seats. Brady sat in his booster in the bucket seat in the middle row. The seat could adjust in many ways that helped him recline a bit, stay far enough back from the driver’s seat that he could reach to kick it and was far enough away from the other bucket seat so that he wasn’t bothering his brother. 
  • DVD. I can’t say it enough! Even with all the iDevices we had with various movies, Brady was enthralled with the fact a tv screen could come down from the ceiling. He could watch endless hours of Peppa Pig and Disney movies without anyone complaining because there was a split screen so the other boys could watch their movies or play video games on the other side. There were also wireless headphones that could switch to which feed/screen they would have the sound for. 
  • Center console. The center console in between the front seats could open and roll back to the middle row of seats. This created a great place to store snacks and such for Brady so that we didn’t have to reach into the back of the van or have his brothers pass something forward. It was all right there for us to grab and give. 
  • Sun shades. The two windows on the sliding doors had retractable sun shades. BRILLIANT! This helped keep the sun from his eyes on the long voyage. Couple that with his noise canceling headphones and he even took a nap for part of the trip! Something that never happens due to his sensory issues with light and sound!

Toyota Sienna Split Screen

All in all, the smooth ride of the van, the features above and a few well timed stops for potty breaks and food and this trip was a breeze! Our best road trip with Brady yet! He still asks to go for a ride in the “cool car.” 🙂 

You can check out all the features of the 2014 Toyota Sienna here

disclosure: I was given a loaner vehicle to complete this road trip and review. No monetary compensation was made. All opinions are my own and honest. Thank you Toyota