Advice for riding a plane alone cross country with ASD

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zarok
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30 Jan 2014, 3:26 pm

Hey guys, I have had anxiety and OCD and an eating disorder for a while, and as I have lost weight more and more, it has become apparent I need treatment, So we finally found a place in Arizona (i live in South Carolina). This means I have to fly there, I have been on a plane before but not alone and it was a short trip. I am 21, and have an official Diagnoses so we are saying on the ticket that I have the "cognitive or Developmental Disability", But I am still not sure what to expect. The idea of being trapped anyplace where I cant just step outside freaks me out.

This is all happening quite fast and I am quite nervous, and so I thought I would ask you guys about anything I should be aware of before I go into the terminal. Whether it being flying, or being there. I think it will really only be my general anxiety and aspegers that worry me, any help would be greatly appreciated.

-Z


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Fogpatrol
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30 Jan 2014, 3:33 pm

Just remind yourself that it's safer than being in a car on the highway. Also, if you could do an overnight flight it's easier since they shut down the lights so people can sleep. Pop a sleeping pill and fall asleep.



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30 Jan 2014, 3:36 pm

Can you get a seat near the back of the plane, so you won't have people going back and forth by you all the time? Also see if you can board first. I would hope they would accommodate you with early boarding because of your disability. Music/headphones might be helpful for the actual plane ride. An eye mask might help too. I suggest a window seat if you can get it, because you can look out the window, and won't have people climbing over you to get to the bathroom. Maybe after you sit down and get comfortable, close your eyes or put on the eye mask so your seatmate won't try to talk to you. I find closing my eyes and listening to music to be a very effective way of cutting down on external stimulation so I can relax. Maybe make up a special playlist of calming music to listen to.

Good luck! I hope your treatment goes well!


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Soccer22
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30 Jan 2014, 4:31 pm

First off, it's really brave of you to get help and I'm really proud of you. Secondly, my suggestion is to just try and sleep throughout most of the flight, if you can. If you can't sleep, make sure to have things entertaining like books/magazines, mp3 player, ipad, or laptop, etc. The plane ride will be long, so the plane will be playing a movie during the flight, which is good for you, because that'll make it easier to get through the flight. Good luck!



nebrets
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30 Jan 2014, 6:13 pm

I have flown alone several times.

1. Have cards or papers with notes for the people (flight attendants, ticket desk workers, security line personnel, gate attendants).

Have the cards say that you have an Autism Spectrum disorder, perhaps things you need help with. I have cards saying I may have trouble speaking. I fly Southwest Airlines where you are not pre assigned seats, I ask to pre board (get on board before everyone else to see the plane, arrange myself, and not be rushed). I also ask for a seat in the very back by the window as I feel safer in a corner, but you may want to ask about other seating option.

I have one just for security to allow me to by-pass the long line, I get taken to the front.

I have cards if I become disoriented and need to be escorted to my gate. I have cards if I have a layover to ask for help to the next gate.

2. Sensory items, power plugs, batteries, portable charger, stuff to do.

Plane rides are long, there is lots of waiting and sitting. I use my ipod touch for most everything (except phone calls, but I avoid those anyway). I make sure I have a charging cord with me, sit by electrical outlets while in the airport, and have a portable battery based charger if it dies mid flight.

I also use isolating earbuds that help protect me from the ambient sounds and speaker based announcements. (Another reason for cards, it notifies people that to get my attention they need to wave a hand in my face, and that I may need someone to get me when boarding comes).

3. You also may want to take an anti-anxiety med before leaving if needed. Also you can talk to the flight attendant and captain if you are afraid of the flying itself, and they can help reassure you.

Also not all domestic long flights play a movie.


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30 Jan 2014, 7:06 pm

I am horribly afraid of being 30,000 ft in the air so I opted for a 27 hour train ride from Detroit to Denver. I wouldn't be of use here.


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zarok
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30 Jan 2014, 8:17 pm

I aslo feel safer in a corner so I may do that. I suppose its a matter of whether you want to be closed in or open space each having thier own ups and downs.
How does one get those kind of cards? I may need one seeing as I have a tick as well. I have a laptop but the battery only lasts about 1 hour so I can use it during my stops but the rest of the time i dont know. Also I dont have an mp3 player, as treatment doesnt allow any electronic devices. Even my laptop will be locked away when i get there.

Its interesting to me because i normally dont seem Aspie unless i get stressed out but I know i will be stressed out on a plane.


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30 Jan 2014, 8:24 pm

Sit in the very back of the plane.

You never hear of a plane backing into a mountain


Seriously: Don't let people see your nervousness.



wozeree
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30 Jan 2014, 8:27 pm

Flying can be really annoying, the seats tend to be cramped and I've had it so bad that the seat in front of me was reclined into my lap, making it impossible for me to keep my laptop open. Just know it's going to be very annoying, it's only really less than a day. And don't stress out too bad when the plane takes off then starts making turns right away to get itself on path. I'm used to it and it's still disorienting for me, so just expect it and don't freak out.

Like everyone said, headphones - your favorite music or a movie. Or a sleeping pill.

Good luck (you really are brave)!

Oh yeah, when you are in a strange airport, ask directions right away if you need to and take a deep breath and go as slow as you need to. Airports can be winding and easy to get lost and full of people and lights, so that's another thing to expect. It will all be over soon.



zarok
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30 Jan 2014, 9:21 pm

It will only be like a 6 hour trip, and I will be on a plane 3 hours to Huston then like another 3 hours to phoenix. I dont even have head phones or music, Also i will be flying south west.

And I will be taking anti anxiety meds to get through it. probably one before the first plane then before the second then for the car ride to the ranch


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30 Jan 2014, 9:44 pm

my last plane flight I got absorbed into a really good book.



zarok
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30 Jan 2014, 10:43 pm

I am really hoping on getting Tfios, and perhaps another booth for the flight. But I am also going to have to lock that up when i get there.


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30 Jan 2014, 11:57 pm

I have been flying since I was less than two but I still get anxious about it sometimes. I love to bring an MP3 player with my favorite relaxing music and I love having a window seat where I can look out and see how gorgeous the clouds and scenery is below. If your route takes you over the Grand Canyon or Yellowstone Park it is particularly magnificent. Once you get over the awkwardness of takeoff, just take really deep breaths and pressurize your ears if you have to, try to just lose yourself in the beauty or what you see out the window as you are listening to your favorite music. It really works. Don't sit next to a wing because than you won't have a clear view out the window.

You can get an inexpensive MP3 player at Walmart of any drug store and see if you can load it up with music that relaxes you. It's pretty easy to do and if you don't know how maybe there is someone who can help you or do it for you.


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zarok
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31 Jan 2014, 1:12 am

ok a recurring thing here of music, Well the only music i have is like starwars all american rejects and some kesha. I own 3 cds. Starwars might work.... but the rest is to get all worked up. So, I have a cheap MP3 player we found a few years ago I need to reformat. But then I have no music to put on it...


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31 Jan 2014, 1:29 am

I love the Star Wars soundtrack. Any music that you like will work. As long as you love it, that is what is most important. And looking at cloud formations and landscapes listening to Star Wars sounds like something I would really love too. Actually the soundtrack to The Empire Strikes Back is one of my absolute favorites of all time and I would listen to that flying any day. :D


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