Details About Working With an Online Travel Agency

When you are looking to book your next vacation or your next business trip, you may be considering using an online travel agency. Before you decide to do so, however, you should be aware of what to expect from an online travel agency so you can determine how best to match that to your own unique needs. There are several different levels of service in which to classify online travel agencies, the level you need depends on your trip requirements as well as your personal travel and leisure preferences or desires.Quite simply, you should be able to find an online travel agency that can fulfill any expectation you may have. Whether you prefer self-service travel plans where you do all of your own searching and booking, or a full-service online agency that handles every detail on your behalf, there are many options available. Depending on the type of travel you will be undertaking, there are also various options that you can consider among online travel agencies. Some specialize only in travel packages, while others offer a la carte menus of travel services for you to pick and choose.There are several expectations, however, that are universal to all online travel agencies. These have to do with the minimum level of service provided and the quality and competitiveness of the types of travel being sold. It is best to qualify the online travel agency on all of these expectations before you choose to enter into partnership with them for the travel you are seeking to plan.The first universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is having a variety of destinations and packages available to choose from. It does not matter what specialty the agency might have, from full-service travel to niche travel such as cruises or unusual destinations. No matter what is being sold, you always want to partner with an agency that provides options. While the first option you see may very well end up being the best choice or the best value, you will have no means of determining that unless other options are available for comparison. Good self-service travel sites will readily offer you comparison information. Full-service online travel agencies should compile that same information and present it to you when you are in the process of making a decision.The second universal expectation you should have when using an online travel agency is that they offer the same basic types of vacations from more than one carrier or provider. For example, you can choose between two major airlines for the same New York-to-Miami flight leg of your trip. If an online travel agency represents only one brand, they are not truly a travel agency; instead, they are a representative of that brand. If only one brand were offered, customers would have no means of evaluating whether the services and products offered were of value or were worthless. Having a number of providers to choose from when selecting hotel or airfare or cruise line shows that the travel agency is actively updating its site with the best prices and options currently available.The third universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is price competitiveness. Although travel agencies sometimes charge fees to travelers in order to off-set their cost of doing business, those fees must be fair. The charges for the actual travel services you see published through online travel agencies should be no more than what you would pay if you went directly through the provider, and, in fact, less if bundled with other services.The final universal expectation that you should have for your online travel agency is a service-level guarantee that ensures you get what you pay for and are treated in a courteous and appropriate manner. Online travel agencies should also offer some form of a guarantee for your purchases that no foreseeable action on their part or the part of the service provider will interrupt your travel. They cannot warrant against freak or random occurrences, but they can ensure that their own offerings are solid before offered.Perhaps the best thing about using an online agency is the availability of customer reviews and feedback you can read before making a final purchase. Another nice convenience, for repeat customers, is the ability to create your own customer profile that allows you to save certain options in your preferences that will streamline future vacation planning. You can save time and hassle by storing any corporate or membership discount numbers, frequent flyer numbers and other pertinent information on your customer profile.The expectations you hold for the online travel agency you select as a partner may be varied. If they can uphold these four basic standards of quality, you can be assured that you are getting sound representation and the best deals available.

Parent Educational Choices in Autism Assessment

Parents are often making choices about a young child’s educational future at the time of an autism assessment. Many educational angles are presented to parents during the autism assessment process. The following information includes five choices that parents make during the autism assessment.

Choice to Give Consent for Autism Testing

First of all, the parent has a choice as to whether or not to give permission or consent for a team to conduct an autism or early childhood educational assessment. Once the information is explained to parents, some parents make the choice to opt out or not have the child tested in the assessment process. However, many parents gladly accept this opportunity to learn more about their child’s skills and abilities as well as letting professionals give their opinions related to autism characteristics.

Choice to Agree or Disagree with Autism Results

Second, parents have a choice to agree or disagree with the results and recommendations of the autism eligibility meeting and team. Some parents are right on board with the results of the multidisciplinary team assessment, while other parents don’t see their children in the same way. It is not uncommon for parents to say that he or she ‘does not act the same way at home as he or she behaved in the assessment.’ At other times, the educational team may have different ideas than a doctor or early childhood intervention specialist so parents must make a choice in how they review the results of the assessment. There are times when parents disagree with the eligibility results, but still agree to have the child put in a special education program.

Choice to Complete Part of the Educational Assessment & Program

Third, some parents complete an autism or early childhood assessment and complete only the eligibility portion of the assessment. However, after the results are presented some of these parents will make the choice not to complete the Individual Educational Program from the local school district. Perhaps, the child is doing well in another program or with behavior therapy so the parent opts out of accepting a structured educational program in the school district.

Choice of Placement Options

Fourth, parents have choices to discuss placement options for the child with autism. Some children need more structured programs with intensive interventions, while other children need less support and can function in regular education programs with limited special education support and consultation.

Choice of Placement Changes

Finally, parents have a choice to work with special education staff to consider autism placement changes. If a special education program is not meeting the child’s needs then the type of program selected for the child may need to be modified. Parents have the option to ask the school to reconvene and have another meeting to discuss trying an optional educational program on a temporary or part time basis to see if the child with autism can function and adapt in the new educational situation. Most importantly, parents are making significant educational choices to help young children with autism. Parent input is extremely helpful and valuable in the child’s autism assessment and educational planning process.

The Changing Face of UK Family History Research

Over the past ten years the popularity of Family History Research has grown exponentionally in the UK and the US.When I started out, family history research was a case of travelling to busy records offices and poring through indexes, old books, dusty documents and microfiche readers.To get a UK birth certificate (etc.) a visit to St Catherines House was often required. This was the equivalent of a long workout at the gym! The enormous, heavy, quarterly index books were deftly pulled from the shelves behind the researchers and slammed down onto the long, lectern height desks. A quick ruffle through the pages to find the required name either resulted in a reference number being written down, or a swift return of the book to the shelf behind, trying not to hit the others waiting to look at the books. It was quite amusing sometimes to see a frail old lady, or a newcomer having problems coping with the massive books and being given dirty looks by those who were making a good income by charging to obtain certificates for customers who could not make the trip themselves.Now these details can be looked up on line and a certificate ordered and delivered for a lot less than it would cost to travel to London.UK Census details were kept at a large building in Chancery Lane where a microfiche reader had to be booked. The lighting was subdued and there was always an odd atmosphere. Hushed and reverent, except for the zzzzzzz of motors as the films were being wound on or back, and an occasional flurry of activity when a reader came across a page they needed to copy. The film would be loaded onto a special copying machine and a charge made for the copy, which would be stamped with a warning not to publish the contents.With the coming of the Internet, and the realization that money was to be made, the proliferation of family history pay sites began. Many of these have become incredibly successful and lucrative for their owners.I began my family research in the late 1980s when I realized that many of my aunts and uncles were fast moving on to a better place!It was a very good period to start as the cost of travel, both by car and public transport was quite affordable at the time. It was not uncommon to find a reference to an ancestor living in a certain town or area and to make a day out of visiting that town and its local church. I once had an amazingly successful result when I visited a church in Kent and found a tall memorial stone in the church yard with details of many of the members of the family I was researching. It named people and gave their wives’ and children’s names, even though they were not buried in the churchyard.This kind of hands-on research is not so common today, although it could still be very useful. Researchers prefer to look up the details on line, and then look for pictures and articles about the towns, villages and areas their ancestors originated from.Unfortunately, this can only work if some other person or organization has bothered to put that information on the ‘net.I remember researchers who drew out massive family trees on rolls of wallpaper. Others kept file cards with all of their family members’ details noted down. Others had thick note books. Others had hundreds of scraps of paper interspersed with printouts of censuses and registration certificates. Now the information can be kept on purpose made family history software.Some people seem to have an easy time of researching their tree, others not!I have encountered people who have had problems getting back beyond their grandparents.Others have walked into an old church and found a plaque on the wall showing their ancestors’ families and their connection with the area over the past few hundred years.I have had mixed success with my own research. My mother’s line has been researched by others and myself and this has helped get us back to the sixteenth century.My father’s line, however has been very hard to push back beyond about 1830. This is because records of common people in England, although kept, were not very comprehensive. It is common for English parish records not to record ages, addresses or wives’ surnames. The result is that you can have several people with the same name recorded as living in an area with nothing to give any clue as to which is which.You may see a parish wedding recorded as “17th May 1789 Robert Smith to Ann”. Not really much to go on!The difference is very apparent if the families involved had money!”18th May 1789, Robert Smith, son of Edward Smith of Verilarge Hall to Ann Harding, daughter of Richard Harding of Giles Farm”If you are unlucky enough to have to research somebody with a common surname the parish records can be of very little use.Sometimes a “gem” of a parish record is found. It was the job of the local clergyman to record all the baptism, marriage and burial details for his area. Many just gave the basics, but now and then you may find details that were entered by a person who realized that the records were important. These men would put in extra details that are now of great historical use.They may have not only recorded the burial but also details regarding the circumstances of the death.They sometimes gave addresses and ages on marriages even though they were not required to.These men would, today be putting historical information onto the net to help others, because they realized the importance of recording even the humblest of lives.Luckily, today, a lot of similar, dedicated researchers have started free websites and groups to help others with their family history research. It is now much more likely for a new researcher to find that a lot of the information on their family has already been gathered by another person.A search of the net for such free sites should always be the first step when researching.Pay sites like Genesreunited in the UK have helped with this exchange of family research information. At first it carried no research information of its own and just allowed subscribers to create a free online family tree from their own research. It soon had a large amount of members with many hundreds of trees held on their site.Other people could then check to see if somebody had put information regarding their name interests onto the GRU site. They then pay to subscribe to contact the other users. It is quite affordable even for a person with a casual interest.My own feelings about this site are mixed. The up side is that a person can join and quickly contact a person who shares their ancestry. They often find that a family tree has already been compiled. The down side of this “family tree on a plate” situation is that it can give people the impression that family history research is easy.Another problem is that users can propagate false details. It is very easy to make mistakes with research, especially if it is based on parish records. Anyone using this site for serious research should make sure they check out the source of the information they receive.I once encountered a lady who sent me information that showed a family with three daughters, all with the same first name. That rang alarm bells! When I checked further I realized that the mother that was shown was still having children when she was 54 years old! Very unlikely, but easy mistakes for a novice to make.Other sites like Ancestry, Findmypast and similar sites carry information gathered from government agencies and old records. These are usually indexed to make locating individual names a lot easier. As more and more information is being added, so the cost of subscribing to these sites is rising. Currently a year’s subscription to Ancestry’s UK site, and others, is nearly £108. This is now putting these sites beyond the reach of the novice to average researcher.The future of family history research is assured. As more TV programmes such as WDYTYA, Coming Home (Welsh ancestors), Heir Hunters (modern inheritance research) and Empire’s Children make way for even newer versions, like the new, “prime-time” version of Heir Hunters, “Missing Millions”, more and more people will want to find out about their own family history.As more and more information is made available on the ‘net, it will never have been easier to discover the origin of your family.I am not even going to go into DNA research, except to mention it. This is very popular in the USA.Americans do seem to have a need to ‘belong’ so a DNA test result can tell them instantly if they are related to a particular lineage, and where their family originated. It is not so popular in Britain, yet.As more information is put on line by paysites, researchers must make a point of putting their own research on line where it can be seen for free.There are lots of free sites and Groups that will store and share information, as well as providing help to researchers. We should all try to make the exchange of information a two way thing.As more is learned about a person’s family history it can be used to teach and improve the future of that person.Let us hope the hobby continues to grow and thrive.