Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport

When faced with a long-scheduled layover or an unexpected flight delay, travelers with autism, more than any other category of travelers can become increasingly agitated and apprehensive, requiring a plethora of activities to keep them busy and entertained.
Parents wishing to avoid the extra stress and occupy their kids if stranded at an airport should conduct a brief Internet research of the options available in and around each airport during the initial travel planning stage.

Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport moving stairs

 

Have fun in an airport museum

Airport Museum construction is on the rise and presents a win- win situation for all involved.The airport satellite locations help institutions introduce their collections to a wider more diverse audience terminals supply their frustrated travelers with a unique way to kill time and kids get to have fun and learn something new.Outstanding domestic airport museums: Atlanta, Philadelphia and San Francisco while internationally the Rijksmuseum in Schiphol Amsterdam  Airport is a must see!
Many kids’ museums have satellite locations in airports, providing a sensory, hands-on experience for the younger travelers with autism along with much-required respite minutes to their caregivers.
Excellent  U.S. places to check are: San Francisco’s Kids’ Spot (in partnership with the Exploratorium), Boston’s Logan Airport Kidport (in cooperation with the Children’s Museum of Boston) and Chicago O’Hare Kids on the Fly  area (in collaboration with the Chicago Children’s Museum.)

 

 

Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport FOOD

 

 

Take an airport tour

Another great idea that combines fun and education is a ‘behind the scenes peek ‘ that teaches kids and parents the logistics behind running a big airport. Many families with autism might find this informative tour fascinating, especially those dislike or even fear crowded airports.Noteworthy places in the US are  Cleveland and Tampa airports.
Most airports do require notice and an email confirmation process, so one needs to plan in advance.Some European airports like Frankfurt and Zurich conduct them daily and are easier to attend at the last minute.

Check out the Observation Decks

A once in a lifetime view of the airport grounds along with takeoff and landing runways can be enjoyed, by the aviation obsessed travelers with autism if you get to visit the few observation decks worldwide that remain open, despite the heightened security measures post 9/11.The more memorable ones are Bangkok, Thailand and the US’ Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina that has a beautiful park located near the air traffic control tower, where one can enjoy a ‘mini picnic’ while watching the takeoff and landing of the planes.

 

Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport GLOBE

 

 

 Children’s Play Areas

In the US many airports like Nashville International Airport, Portland International Airport, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and Salt Lake City all have area playgrounds, mostly inside to let that extra energy. It would be an excellent idea to put in some swings to further calm individual needs little ones.Our favorite is Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport with a sensory play area and rocking chairs in quiet areas that are perfect for kids with autism.


There are many International airports with well-planned kids play areas. Singapore Changi features the world’s longest slide, swimming pool, a movie theater and as many arcades as the eye can see.  Hong Kong International Airport has its individual aviation discovery center, i-sports complex and PlayStation Gateway Center by Sony.Auckland, New Zealand: If Singapore is the Mecca for indoor entertainment, Auckland is the ultimate destination in outdoor and back to nature pleasures with butterfly creek, just outside the airport,l equipped with a butterfly house, aquarium, insect house, crocodile exhibit and farm yard.

 

 

 

Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport TEL AVIV PLAY AREA
Tel Aviv Ben Gurion airport

See the city

Since many cities are relatively close to their airport, a short sampler tour might be a pleasant way to get introduced to a future vacation spot.Singapore’s airport leads the way by offering free colonial, cultural, or lifestyle city tours upon requestToronto, Amsterdam, and Panama also offer shorter versions.

 

Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport SWISS EXEC LOUNGE

 

Go Geocaching

Geocaching is the twenty-first century GPS based treasure hunt with a twist. Individuals or groups hide caches all over the world, advertise the hidden location on the Internet and wait for GPS enthusiastic players to find the hidden item. The person/s who discover the item or items can get a variety of rewards, get to publish their ‘discovery’ on the web and are supposed to leave a treasure of their choice for the next Geo enthusiast.
Although we have never gone geocaching ourselves, some of my readers who have kids with autism swear their kids had fun looking for those caches and found the activity highly entertaining.

 

Try the local cuisine

Being stuck in an airport might become a golden opportunity to sample new foods your son or daughter with autism might not have dreamed otherwise of trying. Here are some of our ultimate US  favorites.

In Miami; Kafe Kalik famous for its conch fritters and Bahamian foods and La Carreta serving their famous Cubano sandwich, with roast pork, Swiss cheese, and pickles.In Albuquerque: Garduno’s Chile Packing Company and Cantina with its mouthwatering green chiles, machaca enchiladas, and honey-drenched sopapillas.Boston’s Logan Airport has three Legal options: Legal’s Test Kitchen for people on the go, Legal C Bar full menu plus beer bar, and the traditional restaurant and San Francisco features Boudin’s Bakery known for its sourdough bread since 1849.
However, if the food does become a point of contention and a reason for a meltdown, head on over to the nearest McDonald’s.

 

Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport LAS VEGAS SLOT MACHINES

Spas

Sometimes a flight delay can become that golden opportunity to brush up on the basics of personal hygiene give your kid with autism, a much-needed haircut, a manicure-pedicure combo, or get them to relax with a massage before the next flight.


Room for the day

Our ultimate favorite is getting a place for the day and resting a few hours at a nearby property. This way everyone in the travel party can shower, sleep, watch TV, or work on the internet. For many kids with autism a quiet place away from the airport, the bustle is a great way to regroup and relax.There are many hotel properties, to choose from in most major airports, either part of the airport complex or adjacent but connected with walkways, like the Hilton in Chicago O’Hare or Sheraton in Frankfurt, so make sure you call them up directly and ask for their day rates.

Occupying the Kids when Stranded at the Airport WHEEL CHAIR ASSISTANCE

 

Have you ever been stranded with your kids in an airport and found a way to occupy them?  Share it with us!

 


Taking Your Child With Autism On A Bus Trip

Bus travel is finally on the rise in the last few years after many years of dwindling reservations, and for good reason.The new buses are not the old stuffy, uncomfortable vehicles that dominated the seventies and eighties, but new luxurious ones with extra leg space, assigned seating and free Wi-Fi.

So assuming your child with autism does not get car sick, you should add bus travel to your list of experiences. Here are some pointers to help make the trip more memorable.

Taking your child with Autism on a Bus Trip Disney bus

Planning

 

  • Check multiple websites for the best prices before booking, and always inquire about additional discounts available to students, military, retirees and some credit union members.
  • Take advantage of two for one promotion as well as kids travel free offers if valid.
  • For multiple trips consider buying a pass.
  • Consider booking a short trip (under three hours )  for your first adventure to make sure bus travel is for you and your child with autism.
  • Seating- Book a window seat that is next to an outlet in the front of the bus since some people feel more claustrophobic in the back.
  • Stay away from back seats that do not recline and what might become smelly lavatories.

What you should remember to pack

 

  • Pack -additional carry-on bags for each member of your travel party  and label the bags accordingly
  • An extra set of clean clothes in case an unexpected food spill happens and a couple of extra pairs of underwear if sudden diarrhea strikes
  • Adult diapers/good nights on longer trips if potty training is an issue.
  • Food snacks that do not require refrigeration as well as, bottled drinks, especially water are important.
  • Wipes to clean hands, seats, toys, electronics and even spills off clothing in need be.
  • Entertainment -Electronics are by far the ‘it’ choice-laptops /netbooks since there is free Wi-Fi, DVD players, music players, mini video games,e -readers, and all the assorted pods.Remember to engrave your belongings to ensure other people do not mistake them for theirs and do.
    Don’t forget to bring a small light for the e-readers.
  • For younger kids, a bag of goodies from the local dollar store that are given out at regular intervals might prevent meltdowns and encourage better behavior.
  • Older kids might enjoy a digital camera so he or she can take ‘window shots’ of what is interesting to them during the bus ride.
    Later laminating or printing the pictures and binding them with a ring make beautiful souvenir book.Avoid toy sets with multiple pieces like Legos (that will have you on your hands and knees looking for pieces) and items that make noise makers and will disturb fellow passengers.Avoid toy sets with multiple pieces like Legos (that will have you on your hands and knees looking for pieces) and items that make noise makers and will disturb fellow passengers.
  • Use an I.D. tag, temporary tattoo or bracelet, especially if your kid is nonverbal.Don’t forget to pack all medicines and medical information that pertain to your child.

Ever taken your child with Autism on a bus trip if so, what would you like to add to the list?

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend

 

We arrived at Tampa pier at two o’clock, after finding out they started boarding by one.After notifying one of the porters that we are traveling with special needs persons, they called their supervisor immediately, and we received VIP treatment.
Aldona, a Carnival superior took us to an air conditioned lounge and took care of our embarkation paperwork in less than five minutes.
A unique port security person accompanied us, carrying our luggage on a trolley up to the autistic friendly Carnival Legend ‘s entrance.

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend SHIP

The ship

The muster drill was a breeze too-Carnival provided a special enough air conditioned lounge for the special needs persons.

Moreover, the crew members handed out a printed page with instructions on what to do in case of a real emergency.

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend DESSERT
Dining

In the main dining room, our excellent Maitre D’, Ken made sure we had a separate table for four.He came every night to make sure Jeffrey got his blue cheese dressing for his salad!Our servers were excellent and remembered everyone’s likes and dislikes, especially our son’s.
On the very last night, they even surprised him with two portions of bread pudding that were not on the menu.Everyone in the main dining room was extremely helpful during breakfast and lunch times too, catering patiently to our every need.We enjoyed both formal nights, especially since the boys were not required to wear a jacket, tie, or even a long sleeve shirt.
Instead, I brought short sleeve, button down, pure silk Hawaiian shirts [twenty dollars at our local costco], and soft cotton long pants from Nordstrom’s, that magically make even huge lobster butter stains disappear, in contact with soap detergent and water, for them to wear.

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend SURF TURF

Our Cabin

Our room steward was equally helpful, supplying our room with extra towels, pillows, and sheets on a daily basis. After complaining about the warm temperature in our room, and the technician’s failure to correct the issue, the chief engineer came to our cabin in person to oversee what could be done.
Moreover, the hotel manager came to our table, in person, to ask us if everything had been corrected.

 

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend CABIN

On the third day, the boys each got a bag of goodies from Club O2, accompanied by a personal invitation.They politely declined, but enjoyed the gift bag nonetheless.
The truth is we were all pretty tired from the daily trips we took and chose to bond as a family over the great option the cruise line offers of pay-per-view movies in the room.Room service, a favorite with most kids, was unusually fast with orders, even at peak hours.

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend FRIENDS

The captain was gracious to sign Jeff’s ceramic ship model, while Wee Jimmy, the Legend’s cruise director gave him a ship on a stick.Needless to say, Jeff’s was floating in souvenir heaven.

Luckily, we managed to visit all our intended ports of Grand Cayman, Belize, Roatan and Cozumel but did get some windy days from the end tail of tropical storm turned hurricane, Alex.

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend CAYMAN

The important lesson to learn is that during hurricane season you should book your shore tours through the cruise ship, especially in ports that require tendering, as you never know when the high winds will pick up and change your plans!

In the Grand Cayman, we visited the sandbar with stingrays and a turtle farm, both great sensory, and educational tools. Skip the little town of Hell which is a store selling funny t-shirts with an owner dressed as the devil, unless you want to sample a different sensory perspective of surprise hugging and kissing.

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend ROATAN

Snorkeling in Roatan and Belize was amazing, and I do have to commend the tiny local sand flies that are ever so polite, you don’t even notice when they come, bite and leave.Even better is the fact the bite sites do not itch and disappear overnight.

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend PARROTS

In Cozumel, we opted to explore the Eco park of Xcaret, with its caves, lazy river, zoos and turquoise lagoon.If you ever decide to go, make sure you pay a visit to the magnificent butterfly garden and the rainbow colored macaws that use discarded feathers to clean out their beaks!

The Autistic Friendly Carnival Legend HAMMOCK

Disembarkation was an easy affair too, and we reached Tampa airport in plenty of time to spare, after using Alamo’s free shuttle.Completing the memorable experience, United Airlines decided to upgrade the four of us to first class on the Tampa-Dulles segment and to Business class on the Dulles-Los Angeles flight, by itself a memorable event on a historic day.

Happy July 4th everyone!

Cabin Accommodations for Travelers with Autism

Cabin Accommodations for Travelers with Autism pin

For parents of kids with autism, one of the best tips I can give when taking a cruise is to get the kids acclimated to their cabin as fast as possible.The key to doing that is communicating with the cabin steward efficiently and relaying the necessary accommodations to him or her as soon as possible. For those not acquainted with how to do so here are a few useful tips to follow so you can get the necessary cabin accommodations for travelers with Autism.

Meet your cabin attendant as soon as possible

Try to meet your room steward as soon as possible after boarding, since it might be necessary to make certain adjustments to your cabin.Be patient, courteous and remember they are busy and tired, particularly on embarkation days when they wake up early and have the task of clearing the cabins to prepare them for next travelers.After the usual pleasantries exchange , asks him or her for the following cabin accommodations.

Clear the fridge

Ask the steward to clean out the cabin fridge of sodas, snacks and alcohol as soon as possible so you can store your foods and beverages that you bring back from the buffet or room service to help with those late night hunger attacks.
Another good reason to do so is the sensors on the fridge door might falsely charge your cabin account for an item even though you only moved it to a different location inside the refrigerator to make room for your bottle of water.
Carnival Legend:Towel Animal

Remove  Breakables 

To avoid accidents injuries or damages ask for any breakable objects like standing lamps, glass tops and mirrors to be removed from the cabin especially if your kid has a history of meltdowns s or likes to touch everything.
Inquire about the availability of guard rails for the lower beds if you are concerned your child is in danger of falling out of bed.

Ask for hypo-allergenic bedding 

If you have a pronounced feather allergy like I do, ask for hypoallergenic bedding (including pillows and blankets) as well as a complete change of your bed linens to make sure there aren’t any allergen residues on the bed.
Most cabins have the possibility of separating the large main bed into two twins, so you might want the room steward to do that for you as soon as possible. Not only will it provide you with a slightly larger area to move about, but it also might be helpful if your young family members decide to play “musical beds” and switch beds in the middle of the night.
If your family members enjoy afternoon naps tell your steward you would like the beds ready 24/7 otherwise you might find the top bunks or sofabed closed till the evening.

Cabin Accommodations 4 Travelers With Autism:Our Cabin

Request  an extra tv remote control and  additional seating

Getting an extra TV remote and chairs to sit on is always a good idea as most cabins have one single seat that is not enough for a family of four.Extra chairs might prove helpful as an additional door block if your child wanders and needs to be stopped from exiting the room at night.

Ask for extra  linens

If your child has ‘night accidents’ or suffers from OCD  and takes several showers during the day you need more than your usual linen and towel allotment. It is much easier to get extra supplies in the cabin ahead of time than to sit on the phone with guest services begging for the items in the middle of the night.

Ask  to turn the room speaker volume off

If your child is noise sensitive, the loud daily announcements will bother him or her so it is better to turn the volume off inside the cabin.You can still listen to the reports by opening the cabin door or reading the daily newsletter.

Tips For Boarding A Cruise Ship With Autism

Tips For Boarding A Cruise Ship With Autism muster drill     

Boarding a cruise ship is exciting, but it can also be stressful if one travels with kids, especially ones with autism.
You get past security, enter the cabin to put your luggage and at that point, all everyone wants is to relax.
However, when traveling with autism, it is imperative to check on certain accommodations to make sure that everything will run smoothly and that everyone including your child with autism will enjoy the vacation.
If you haven’t cruised before and aren’t sure what to do here are some tips for boarding a cruise ship with Autism to start you off on the right path.

  The VIP desk

Make sure you fill all the pre-boarding paperwork online and arrive at the pier an hour after the initial crowds board the ship.This way, the check-in lines are less crowded, and the staff is less stressed and more helpful.
If your kid with autism cannot wait in-line, head on to the VIP/handicap desk equipped with your medical documents, and ask for expedited embarkation.

Don’t use porters

The best way to ensure both the safety of your luggage along with your quick embarkation or disembarkation is to carry your suitcases onboard on your own.Luggage for your kid with autism may include special medications, clothing, bedding and toys that might not readily be available to re-purchase if destroyed or lost (which will lead to meltdowns that can ruin the family’s trip) should be handled solely by you.
Clearly,  this suggestion is not for everybody, as it does translate into fewer items packed, and might not prove feasible to some.

Head on to the Service Desk

  • Ask to do the muster drill in an air-conditioned room, or if you can send a representative from your group to the muster drill. Make sure later that evening to take your entire group to the assigned evacuation spot so you will know exactly where it is.
  • Ask the customer service representative to make sure that your kid cannot charge anything to their ship card, including at the video games arcade onboard.Also, ask to block the pay-per-view in the room option, so you don’t get charged for the same movie 51 times  (happened to us, true story) when you have a child enamored with pressing buttons continuously like mine.
  • Be advised that all cruise lines provide all kids under the age of eleven with an ID bracelet, to help during emergencies. If your child cannot wear one, ask if you can replace it with a tag attached to his/her clothing at all times, or look into those non-permanent tattoos you can stick on during the cruise. Wearing an ID is an important safety issue, and any problems with it need to be addressed with the ship’s personnel.If your child likes shows but is noise or light-sensitive, remember to request reserved back and aisle seating for the evening shows, so you can skip waiting in the long lines and exit the theater fast without disturbing anyone.
  • If your child wishes to attend the kids’ club, onboard you should seek a meeting with the supervisor and or youth counselor to tell them in person, of any needs your child has.Boarding time is also the time to double check that any pre-bookings you made to restaurants, shows, and shore excursions are recorded correctly to avoid possible mishaps.

In the Cabin

  • Make sure you meet and chat with your cabin attendant as soon as possible, so he or she knows what accommodations your child needs.This way your child will feel comfortable in the cabin from the very first day.
  • If you are cruising a ship that offers specialized dining and you have made  any booking: check to see that your bookings are in order and that the restaurant staff knows of any special diet or request.

Benefits of Cruising For Travelers With Autism

 

At first, many parents to kids with autism tend to shy away from cruising; thinking that spending multiple days confined in a ‘swim box’ is just horrifying.
All they can imagine for their vacation days are endless stares and nasty comments from fellow passengers, dramatic meltdowns, and incessant whining from their family members.
As I see it, cruises are not only a great value for the budget conscience family but beneficial for travelers with autism as they provide the perfect learning platform in a relaxed and fun environment.

Benefits of Cruising for the Travelers with Autism ship

Exposure to an incredible variety of foods

Between the main dining room and the buffet, your kid with autism will be tempted to sample many dishes that he or she have never seen before. Since tastes change, you never know when you might return home with a kid who is absolutely in love with mushrooms and asparagus! In our case our son fell in love with escargot on his first cruise experience and still likes to order them every time he finds them offered on the menu.

Benefits of Cruising for the Travelers with Autism soup

Participation in group activities or games

At home, our son never waited for his turn and was always the sore loser in board games. So naturally I was reluctant to pay and have him participate in the ship’s bingo games.But he promised to be on his best behavior if I did take him, so I caved in. And I was surprised when he didn’t seem to mind waiting patiently and losing at Bingo or Trivial Pursuit to other passengers.

Benefits of Cruising for the Travelers with Autism hall

Collectors Paradise

Cruising is a golden opportunity to collect both ship and port memorabilia. Ship memorabilia includes anything with the vessel’s name or logo, including free daily newsletters. Port memorabilia can be anything from the corny t-shirts, pens or caps to maps, napkins, and public transportation tickets.

When we first started cruising with our kids, they were very young, so they collected all the free pamphlets and trinkets they could lay their hands on.

When they grew older, they learned to save their weekly allowance so they would have the money to buy more expensive souvenirs at the different ports we visited. In our son’s case, he has a designated corner in his room with everything he has amassed from years of travel and he likes to look at them to remind him of his various travels.

 

Benefits of Cruising for the Travelers with Autism dolls

Introduction to thrill sports

Do you get to parasail the Caribbean, zip line a tropical forest, rock climb or ice-skate on-board, pet dolphins, manatees, or sea lions every day? That’s what you’ll be doing for an entire week when you go on a cruise!

When we first started traveling, we were the epidemy of couch potatoes.Yet, for the week, we are on board a ship we all become adventurous and try new sports at least once.

Benefits of Cruising for the Travelers with Autism ropes

cruise ship is akin to living in a small village where everyone is in a good mood for a week, so it is a terrific opportunity for your child to practice their social skills. The more your kids cruise and are exposed to other passengers, the better they will learn how to interact with different people. We were surprised on one of our cruises when our son hit it off with an older gentleman who turns out was a television producer and chatted for over two hours about the future of children’s programming.

 

Benefits of Cruising for the Travelers with Autism formal night
Have you taken your child with Autism on a cruise?  What did you find was the most beneficial experience for them?

 

 


30 Tips For Flying With Autism

 

 

30-tips-for-flying-with-autism

Since so many of you have approached me over the years asking for help flying with autistic kids, I thought I’d share my top 30 tips for flying with autism.

 Tips for Booking

  • Always try to book nonstop flights that start early in the morning to bypass midday delays!
    If you are booking, connecting flights make sure you have plenty of time between flights for bathroom breaks and food purchases.The minimum time to connect in the US is  45 minutes for domestic travel since aircraft doors close 15 minutes before takeoff, and  1.5h for international as aircraft doors close 45 minutes before departure.
  • Become acquainted with flight details, the point of origin and codeshare rules.
    Flights that originate in other than your embarkation airport could be subject to CDC or FDA regulations you might not know about. Our personal example was an Air Tahiti Nui from Paris to Los Angeles we took several years ago. During the flight, the crew sprayed some insecticide all over the cabin (including us) in mid-flight.It turns out the flight had originated in the Indian Ocean island of Reunion where they had experienced a severe outbreak of mosquito-carried Dengue Fever and according to US regulations all flights from there needed to be sprayed.
  • Know what type of aircraft you will be on since seating configurations vary between the different airlines and air crafts.
    Check the seats before booking on Seatguru.com and avoid booking  seats in the wing area (extra noise), back area  (a lot warmer and stuffy) as well as  near galleys or bathrooms (smells.)
  • Ask for bulk seating especially if your child stims.
    If the airline denies your request, look into purchasing Economy upgraded seats for long haul flights to make your kid more comfortable.
  • Never seat your child with autism in the middle seat where he or she can’t stretch –put them in a window seat or aisle seating with extra space.
  • When traveling as a family of three or more, consider booking two seats in the front of two other seats putting an adult family member in front of the traveler with autism, to avoid complaints from fellow travelers of the seat being continuously kicked.
  • Booking two consecutive rows might prove priceless on long haul flights for a different reason- if the entertainment sets break down in one row, you can move your kid to the next row and avoid a meltdown over not being able to watch a movie.
    If your kid is on a special diet, mention it at booking time!
  • Most airline companies offer fast food kids’ meals as a food option that is not only a kid pleaser but will also guarantee he/she get their meal among the first on the flight.
  • Ask your booking agent for pre -boarding assistance if your kid tends to wander, and you are traveling with no help with several suitcases.

  • 30 Tips to improve flying with Autism seats

 

Packing Tips

  • Don’t forget disinfectant wipes to clean the food tray and your child’s hands after those bathroom trips.
  • Chewing gum or candy is always helpful for landing so make sure you pack some!
  • If your child needs a blanket or pillow on the flight, consider purchasing your own washable and lightweight set.
    In today’s world, there are more passengers than pillows and blankets on planes and those available might not even be that clean.
  • Take an extra set of clothes (including underwear) in your carry-on for you and your child to quickly change into should a food or beverage spill occur.
    Many times the plastic cups and silverware the airline provides end up on the floor, broken into sharp pieces.So, if your child likes to walk around the plane with no shoes bring a pair of nonskid socks to protect their feet.
  • Bring headphones and ear plugs along to block unwanted noise and always pack an extra set in case they break.
  • Make sure you bring a tablet or phone to entertain your kid -along some airlines have started removing their entertainment systems on the planes altogether.
  • If your child takes daily medicines take them in your purse for easy access during the flight.
  • Discuss with your doctor what to do should your child become agitated during the flight and ask for his/her recommendations.
  • We carry two natural remedies for our son-Valerian to help with relieving stress and Melatonin to help with sleep and jet lag issues.

 

Tips for the Airport

  • Make sure to get to the airport early and allocate enough time to go through the TSA lines (45 minutes to an hour before the flight)  to avoid extra stress.
  • Check if the airport you are traveling through has a separate line for physically challenged persons or families since many do.
  • Bring your pre- filled TSA medical forms (print them off the internet)  along with your doctor’s note confirming your child’s condition to present to an agent should any issue arise.
  • Wear clogs or Crocs instead of shoes to slide on and off during the TSA check line.
  • Avoid wearing sweaters, belts, baggy pants and long skirts as they will trigger the TSA agents’ attention, and you might be stuck with an additional pat-downs.
  • If your child is squeamish about going barefoot on airport floors, bring a pair of disposable shoe covers.
  • Print and bring a map of the airport or airports you will travel through at airport terminal maps .com, so you can know the location of eateries and restrooms, and play areas if and when you need to use them.
  • Keep your cool no matter how stressed you are.Remember your child takes notice of your behavior and will become even more agitated.

30 Tips to improve flying with Autism plane

During the Flight

  • Reiterate your son’s or daughter’s diagnosis to the crew as soon as you board since sometimes the airline forgets to note the accommodations on its paperwork.
  • Dismantle the flight attendant calling button as quickly as possible. Otherwise, it may be (and will almost certainly will be) pressed continuously by your kid and annoy the crew unnecessarily.
  • Be sure to ask your flight attendant for extra napkins-those will come in handy to clean up sticky fingers and spills that might happen.
    Always accompany your child to the restroom to make sure they get any assistance they require.

Have you flown with your autistic child lately-Come share your tips and experience with us?


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