Wednesday, July 5, 2017
Air travel can be intimidating for families of children with autism (ASD). From ears popping, loud and unfamiliar noises, and confined spaces, being on a plane is often overwhelming for anyone with or without special needs.
Here are some things to consider when you’ll be traveling by plane:
- You can opt in for priority boarding, or board last: whichever is easiest for your family. Just let the airline personnel know, and most of the time, they won’t have an issue helping you out.
- Ears popping on a plane can be extremely uncomfortable. For children or others who have issues with chewing gum, a teething toy is a great alternative to help them relieve the pressure from altitude changes.
- If your child is sensitive to loud sounds, the front of the plane is the quietest area to sit in. Many flight attendants and other passengers will gladly assist you in switching seats. Additionally, headphones and watching some preferred games or videos can help combat the unfamiliar noises in the airplane.
- Does your child tend to take his or her shoes off while sitting for a long time? You can prevent potential tantrums by removing their shoes as soon as they are seated and place them under the seat in front of you.
- If your child likes to press the call buttons, let the flight attendants know ahead of time. You can provide an alternative object with buttons to push instead before he or she starts pushing the call buttons.
- Many kids, with or without autism, will kick the seat in front of them. You can ask for an aisle or bulkhead seat for more legroom, but you may also want to have autism information cards handy just in case. If an issue does arise, a nice gesture of purchasing the inflight internet or a beverage for the person.
Preparation and patience will go a long way when traveling with all children. Try to also make the event fun and engaging for your child when possible.
You can find more tips on AutismAdvisor.org and https://www.thescottcenter.org/advisor/resources/travel-airplane