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luvsterriers
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12 Dec 2011, 7:42 am

Is it difficult to travel on an airplane with an autistic child? The noise? The crowds? The security line? Just wondering.


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mom22aspies
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12 Dec 2011, 8:05 am

Most of our travel has been two-ish hours on the plane. I do soooooo much stuff I'd never allow on a normal travel experience. I'll do dvd players, read the same book umpteen times, buy headphones from the flight attendant for the novelty of it, lollipops or some other hard candy, allow them to drink soda, whatever it takes to keep them behaving!! ! lol!! !

Each kid also brings a backpack with whatever they can comfortably fit inside. My daughter brings her dolls, my son brings his cars. This last trip we had magnetic animal bingo which was a huge hit!

I don't want to start drama with this next thing, but we do give our kids sudafed and a puff of nose spray to keep their ears comfortable on the flight. Not having to deal with the puffy ear feeling is one less thing to have to contend with.

HAVE A GREAT TRIP!! !



Mama_to_Grace
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12 Dec 2011, 6:32 pm

My daughter is pretty good on an airplane but I bring lots of stuff to keep her occupied.

The airport is a different story. It can be quite overwhelming for her and the rushed security lines often cause upset. I fear the day when they want to pat her down or put her in the scan box-that will be the day we will have to stop flying. She is very sensitive to strangers and will really freak if they touch her I'm afraid.



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12 Dec 2011, 6:53 pm

I agree. We have no problem with the flight, but waiting around in the airport and all the crowds are upsetting. Headphones in the airport is definitely good. I also encourage my dd to pack a small bag of things for the flight, and add a new puzzle book and snacks. Don't forget the gum and get a drink or two once you're through security.
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12 Dec 2011, 6:56 pm

I am very worried about this actually. I am finally going to be moving back to the States with my autistic son and it's gonna be one 14 hour flight, then change planes, and another 2 hrs to our final destination.

He doesn't have meltdowns due to crowds or anything like that but he has trouble sitting still (he is like a chinchilla!) and sometimes he will scream for hours on end for no apparent reason (usually wants something and cannot communicate to us.)

I have no idea what we will do (or how the flight crew will respond) if the starts yelling like that in the middle of the flight.

I wish there were a way to get him to sleep but we tried melatonin and it does nothing.

Should we tell the airlines beforehand that our son is autistic?



Bombaloo
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12 Dec 2011, 7:16 pm

Wreck-Gar, the good thing about those long flights is that they are large planes. We had a 6 hr plane trip with our NT son when he was about 18 months and the sitting still was the biggest part of the challenge. Since the plane was so big though, we were able to get up and walk up and down the aisles. We could actually do loops because the seating was like 2 3 2 so there were 2 aisles and at the end was an open area.

This is going against my typical philosophy but extreme situations call for extreme measures, perhaps you could ask your doc for a sedative to use just in case he does go into screaming mode. Hearing stories about planes making emergnecy landings because someone gets teed off with a flight attendant makes me think they might not deal to well with an autistic child who can't stop screaming. I think it would be a good idea to at least call the airline and inquire about accomodations they might be able to make for an autistic. I must say, I do not envy you at all. The thought of being on a plane that long with even the most predicatable and well-behaved child sounds like torture to me.



Wreck-Gar
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12 Dec 2011, 7:43 pm

Bombaloo wrote:
Wreck-Gar, the good thing about those long flights is that they are large planes. We had a 6 hr plane trip with our NT son when he was about 18 months and the sitting still was the biggest part of the challenge. Since the plane was so big though, we were able to get up and walk up and down the aisles. We could actually do loops because the seating was like 2 3 2 so there were 2 aisles and at the end was an open area.

This is going against my typical philosophy but extreme situations call for extreme measures, perhaps you could ask your doc for a sedative to use just in case he does go into screaming mode. Hearing stories about planes making emergnecy landings because someone gets teed off with a flight attendant makes me think they might not deal to well with an autistic child who can't stop screaming. I think it would be a good idea to at least call the airline and inquire about accomodations they might be able to make for an autistic. I must say, I do not envy you at all. The thought of being on a plane that long with even the most predicatable and well-behaved child sounds like torture to me.


We brought him to the US when he was 8 months...on the way over we used the bassinet and he cried a lot. On the way back we got lucky and we got an empty seat. He was find there playing with his Christmas toys.

He also likes riding on the train, I hope he will be fine. I have some sleeping pills and I was thinking of taking them with me in case I need them. Maybe I could give them a quarter of a pill or something.

We also have a one-year-old now...I think the one who is gonna need a sedative is me!



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12 Dec 2011, 11:32 pm

Plan ahead...have lots to keep them busy!! Lots of reinforcing stuff they don't usually get too!

If social stories and pictures help, you can get free ones here:

http://accessibility.theautismprogram.org/



Bombaloo
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13 Dec 2011, 2:53 pm

Wreck-Gar wrote:
We also have a one-year-old now...I think the one who is gonna need a sedative is me!


I hear ya! Good luck! I have a friend who travels with her 2 young children from US to Israel twice a year. I think she's crazy but I guess if you do it enough many kids will be accustomed to traveling and will have fewer difficulties.



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13 Dec 2011, 2:58 pm

I might get flamed for this, but if I were taking any child on a 14 hour flight I would bring some Benadryl on board with me to give later in the flight if he was just too rowdy or loud or couldn't fall asleep.

Not only would my child be bothering the others on the flight, and me, but he wouldn't be having such a good time himself if he wasn't allowed to get up and run around like he wanted to. Or if something about the flight was bothering him. I would think that giving him some Benadryl - if he tolerates Benadryl well that is - so he could peacefully sleep through most of the flight, would be kinder to him and everybody else. I wouldn't do that in other situations, where I had the option of leaving, but once you are over that ocean, there is no other option.

I would ask the dr if that is a good idea or if there was something else you should give instead, etc. before giving it for sleep, unless you have given it for sleep before.


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DW_a_mom
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13 Dec 2011, 3:12 pm

Lots of kids, NT or AS, have issues with travel. Gather every last tip you can from every source, and put them all in the tool bag.

Things we did when our kids were younger:

Gum for ascending and descending
Connecting flights so he could get airport "run" time after no more than 3 hours
Favoring carpeted airports at less crowded times of day (you can do research on that)
Knowing where the play areas in airports were (some have them)
Lots of small gifts to open on the flight - transformers are a great manipulative with attached pieces, so you don't lose things
Picking airlines with more appropriate amenities, like Jet Blue or Virgin American, which have personal TV screens
Packing along a portable video player and some favorite DVD's
Bringing our own food

If you have a "sleep anywhere" child you can plan the trip over a sleep time, but if you don't ... avoid that at all costs. You do not want a sleepy child unable to fall asleep on a 6 hour flight!

Good luck!


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Last edited by DW_a_mom on 14 Dec 2011, 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Wreck-Gar
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13 Dec 2011, 5:11 pm

OliveOilMom wrote:
I might get flamed for this, but if I were taking any child on a 14 hour flight I would bring some Benadryl on board with me to give later in the flight if he was just too rowdy or loud or couldn't fall asleep.

Not only would my child be bothering the others on the flight, and me, but he wouldn't be having such a good time himself if he wasn't allowed to get up and run around like he wanted to. Or if something about the flight was bothering him. I would think that giving him some Benadryl - if he tolerates Benadryl well that is - so he could peacefully sleep through most of the flight, would be kinder to him and everybody else. I wouldn't do that in other situations, where I had the option of leaving, but once you are over that ocean, there is no other option.

I would ask the dr if that is a good idea or if there was something else you should give instead, etc. before giving it for sleep, unless you have given it for sleep before.


Only problem is Benadryl is not sold in Japan. I have some generic sleep tablets I got last time I was back in the US and that's what I will bring.



Bombaloo
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13 Dec 2011, 6:06 pm

Wreck-Gar wrote:
Only problem is Benadryl is not sold in Japan. I have some generic sleep tablets I got last time I was back in the US and that's what I will bring.

Sorry to go waaaaay off topic here but I find that very interesting. Do they sell any allergy drugs? Some types of sleep tablets are the same drug as benadryl anyway.



Wreck-Gar
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13 Dec 2011, 7:17 pm

Bombaloo wrote:
Wreck-Gar wrote:
Only problem is Benadryl is not sold in Japan. I have some generic sleep tablets I got last time I was back in the US and that's what I will bring.

Sorry to go waaaaay off topic here but I find that very interesting. Do they sell any allergy drugs? Some types of sleep tablets are the same drug as benadryl anyway.


They do but I am not sure what the active ingredients are. Medication here generally has a lower dose than in the US...



Wreck-Gar
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14 Dec 2011, 2:13 am

DW_a_mom wrote:
Gun for ascending and descending


I am pretty sure this is not allowed. :wink: