Monday, April 25, 2011

Tips for Air Travel with Your ASD Child

A friend asked for some tips on air travel with his ASD child. One of our board members, who travels far and wide with her ASD son, sent this and I thought it was great and really worth sharing!!

Jet Blue allows you to get a bulkhead, extra legroom seat for about $35 per person each way - worth it! Other airlines may have this service as well or, if you let them know your child is disabled, may assign such a seat to you. Bulkhead might be best if you are at all concerned about kicking the seat in front or snapping the tray table up and down (a favorite of my son's for awhile). Also you can board first or last, whatever suits you best (the extra leg room seating entitles you to priority boarding). If you have lots of carry-ons I would say get on first, to secure space but if not, your child might feel better getting on later. I would definitely call the airline in advance and also talk to them at the gate if you have concerns.

If you think your child be agitated, talk to your MD about possible sedatives (and try them out before the trip -- you know how some sedatives have the opposite effect on some people - the last thing you want is him bouncing off the wall, right?) Portable DVD/iPad/iPod or the like are important but, keep in mind that until a cruising altitude is reached they have to be off so if your child is using it before take off, it will have to go off until they announce. If that transition will be hard, then consider not giving it to him or her until you are in the air. Jet Blue also has seat-back TV (incl. Nickolodeon, cartoon network and the like!) which helps (electronics also have to go off during descent and landing).

Might want to check the TSA re screening etc. Some airports have the nasty new screening machines with the radiation concern. I had us screened by hand when we flew back a few weeks ago because we were put on the line for those machines. They had to separate us b/c I needed a female screener. My son always in my sightline but they screened me first. When they screened him I was very close though not in the screening space (which was roped off). You could also inquire about private screening if you are concerned about your child not cooperating. With regard to the regular x-ray - they want children to go thru alone, so you will need to decide if you going before or after works best or talk to TSA at the airport about another way to do it if you are concerned.

I think advance planning is the key for everyone. Does your child do well with social stories? Those might help prepare him or her too because lots of things he or she has never experienced before will happen! Also if concerned about ears popping - take gum if he chews it (my son won't and always has ear issues flying).

1 comment:

Samual said...

Its really a great Blog. Everyone has an internal body clock that follows a certain circadian rhythm of day and night. When that rhythm is disrupted by crossing over multiple time zones, many of the body’s functions are triggered into action at the wrong time. And then Jet lag symptoms occur.