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Learn More About our Tier Designation


Before traveling, each family receives an assessment to determine their level of functionality and travel preparedness. This assessment will then determine their placement in one of five tiers with tier-1 being “very highly qualified”, to tier-5 being “not qualified” for travel. These tier levels also determine where they might be able to travel and how they will travel.

As you can see, a child with a tier-1 assessment might be able to enjoy the benefits of a safari or exotic vacation, whereas, a child with a tier-5 assessment might not be able to venture far on a family outing.

Upon completion of the initial assessment, each family will the option of pursuing our training program by participating in our Family Travel Preparedness Plans (FTPP) which is also based on the tier level assigned to the family.

Upon completion of FTPP, we will certify the family as being prepared for travel. It is at this point that we discuss a variety of travel options based on their assessment and specific needs.

Tour operators will know beforehand the appropriate tier-level of each family they will receive. This will give tour operators the flexibility to adjust their itineraries to the needs of the family.

Explanation of Tier Levels:

Tier-1 Sensory-Sensitive Individual:
Very Highly Qualified – This is a high-functioning, low-maintenance individual. Does not necessarily receives ABA* services, but is highly compliant and follows directions independent of supervision. In most cases, this individual is ready to travel. (This is a Level-1 ASD individual with low sensory challenges).


Tier-2 Sensory-Sensitive Individual:
Highly Qualified – This is a high-functioning, low-maintenance individual. Does not necessarily receive ABA* services, but has learned to master communication skills needed to travel. The individual is highly compliant and follows directions independently without needing much supervision. They are not necessarily ready to travel but may do so with some required training and intervention. (This is a Level-1 ASD individual with high sensory challenges).


Tier-3 Sensory-Sensitive Individual:
Qualified – This is a low-functioning but highly compliant individual (verbal or non-verbal), with low functional communication skills. However, this individual may be receiving ABA* services and has learned to master the skills taught with ABA*. This individual is moderately compliant, follows directions with prompting, and requires minimal prompting to communicate while in a community setting. The individual has minimal or very manageable problem behaviors in a community setting. (This is a Level-2 ASD individual with low sensory challenges).


Tier-4 Sensory-Sensitive Individual:
Moderately Qualified – This individual has nonverbal and low functional communication skills. The individual receives no ABA* services and is non-compliant, has poorly managed and problematic behaviors which may cause disruptions in community settings. Parents may have low skill sets in managing behaviors. (This is a Level-2 ASD individual with high sensory challenges).


Tier-5 Sensory-Sensitive Individual:
Not qualified for travel because of greater individual needs beyond our capability level. (This is a Level-3 ASD individual with numerous sensory challenges).


* What is ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis)?

 Applied Behavior Analysis is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon the principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree, and to demonstrate that the interventions employed are responsible for the improvement in behavior.

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy that focuses on improving specific behaviors, such as social skills, communication, reading, and academics as well as adaptive learning skills, such as fine motor dexterity, hygiene, grooming, domestic capabilities, punctuality, and job competence. ABA is primarily used to treat those with autism, but it’s effective for children and adults with psychological disorders in a variety of settings, including schools, workplaces, homes, and clinics. Research shows that consistent ABA can significantly improve behaviors and skills and decrease the need for special services.

There is a range of perspectives about ABA—the therapy is controversial to some. For example, some parents and therapists may value ABA and state that it led to concrete, observable improvements in children’s abilities. Some adult children who received the therapy may think similarly.

Yet other adults with autism may believe that ABA suppressed their natural feelings and behaviors in the name of becoming “normal.” These people may believe that society should instead accept their true identities and embrace neurodiversity.


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