Flying With Kids With Autism? What Parents Must Prepare And Do

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 21, 04:00 am
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It should not be a struggle for parents flying with kids with autism and there are ways to limit the stress.
(Photo : Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Some people view flying with kids with autism as stressful and challenging. It's precisely this chaos that discourages families from going on another trip or holiday but it shouldn't be the case.

Every family, regardless if they have a member with special needs, deserves to have a fun and enjoyable trip. So, what should parents prepare and do when flying with kids with autism?

Routine is everything for children with autism and the airport experience can either become a disruptive and stressful time or a learning trip. A group called Wings for Autism, however, hopes to assist families traveling with kids with autism around 44 airports across America, according to CNN. Their members have been working with the TSA since 2011.

Parents of kids with autism can sign up for Wing for Autism's programs before their scheduled trips. They can join an orientation of airport measures such as security checks or boarding planes. The children can also get on a tour of the plane's cockpit and meet pilots or crew members.

Wings for Autism members also answer questions the kids or their parents might have about flying. Learn more about their program on their official site.

After booking a flight, parents of kids with autism must notify the airlines they require special needs assistance for the trip. American Airlines, for instance, provides special seating assignments to people with autism, as per Fox News. Some airlines also have protocols regarding boarding and deplaning specific for special needs.

Parents also need to pack necessary comfort items in their carry-ons. Does a child have a favorite toy or blanket? Will books, music or video help distract him during the trip? Should he need specific snacks? Will he need noise-cancelling ear buds? Prepare the checklist first then pack each of these items carefully.

The plane ride itself can be unnerving for a child with autism. Parents should ask advice from their child's doctors on how to help calm them. Perhaps giving the child a small dose of antihistamine might help, according to Autism Speaks. Check out more flying tips for kids with autism in the video below.

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