Hectic, stress inducing but sometimes necessary, there ARE things you can do to make plane journeys easier for all. Mothers of kids with Autism share their BEST travel tips.
- Ask for Assistance
Contact your airline ahead of time and confirm when you check in and ask for assistance. With many airlines they have special needs programs, it’s called TSA (Transport Security Administration in the USA) Cares program or DPNA or just ask for similar. They have a pre-check in procedure to reduce overstimulation and meltdowns as much as humanly possible in an airport. It consists of a special person who moves you to the front of the line and speed up the airport process.
2. Questions to ask
Ask your airline Cares program (or similar) about screening policies, procedures and what to expect ahead at the security check point. Ask if you can pre-board the plane, But do this 72 hours before you travel and not last minute.
3. Dress less
Dress your kids in slip-on shoes, no belts, no unnecessary accessories, don’t overheat them clothing-wise. Better to throw in a light jacket than have them hot and stifled as airports are heat controlled.
4. Security Items
Keep your kids calm with all their security items (headphones, sunglasses, compression t-shirt) until the MINUTE they need to hand them over. If you have a duplicate security item and it’s lightweight (blanket etc) bring the duplicate.
5. Practice, practice, practice
We have lock down drills at schools, why not have airport practice? Practice going through security, having a pat-down and putting seatbelts on. Some airports offer ‘practice days’ so don’t be afraid to ask well ahead of time. Contact Wings For Autism for rehearsal days and extra information about flying and the airport procedure.
Loving the Snowlife podcast has an episode on long haul flights with Toddlers and Babies where you can listen to all the travel tips on insurance, packing, best toys and items for plane travel all while you’re folding the laundry (the podcast not the packing!) Stay tuned for Season 2 coming in 2020, they have an episode about all the fabulous skiing programs at snow resorts for disabled folks and degenerative diseases. Snow resorts are really proactive here so stay tuned.
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