Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘Airport security

Boston (part one)

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I’d been waiting for Saturday to come for what seemed like forever.  Finally the day had arrived to trade in my huge rucksack for my rarely used handbag.  It was my day off.   Spectrummy Mummy goes to Boston!

I was ready, prepared, excited, and nervous.  I busied myself with the mechanics of getting there.  Pudding was not happy that I was going to fly without her, something that has never happened before.  I tried to reassure her that I was returning that evening, and that she would do a day of fun stuff with her daddy and brother.  I left her crying as I went through security.  Later Spectrummy Daddy texted me that she was so upset because she didn’t know what I was going to eat for breakfast.  It makes sense, apart from one overnight trip to a friend’s wedding, I’ve never left Pudding or Cubby.  They always know what I eat for breakfast.  That small detail I’d omitted rocked her world.

So I pressed on through airport security.  Something that is so, so, so much easier to navigate without children in tow.  Ever the autism mother even on my day off, I snapped some pictures of the process to help with social stories.  It crossed my mind that it could be suspicious behavior, but I don’t exactly meet the profile for a terrorist, so nobody commented.  I chatted with the TSA agents about the best way to navigate the screening process with special needs children.  My day’s work over, I got to enjoy a coffee and croissant, without feeling guilty about eating allergic foods, and without half the coffee being spilled on me, or deliberately poured out.  Simple pleasures.

The very brief flight was over quickly.  Remarkable for how uneventful it was.  No crying because of the loud noises.  No kicking the seat in front.  No invading of personal space.  No loud humming, or singing, or shrieking.  No jumping up and down, or moving the window shutter up and down, or turning the fan and light on and off repeatedly.  Honestly, I was on my very best behaviour!

The flight to Boston was so quick that I got to the airport 20 minutes before Alysia arrived to meet me, so I had plenty more time to be nervous.  What if I come across differently in my blog, and she is disappointed?  I express myself better through writing than I do in person, so I might not be what she expected.  What if she is different to how I’d imagined?  What if we don’t get on?  It was a lot like a blind date.  Only I’ve never flown to another city for a blind date, so the stakes were higher.

But then she appeared, carrying a sign for “Spectrummy Mummy” (as I’d demanded in my rider) and it wasn’t like meeting a new friend, it was like greeting an old one.

We hugged, and my nerves evaporated.  I knew everything was going to be great as I spent the day with my new old friend.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

May 9, 2011 at 7:27 am

The Airport

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Own photo

Image via Wikipedia

I think I established in yesterday’s  post that our flight has the potential to go pretty badly.  Pudding has actually flown quite a lot, though not at all since her diagnosis.  She used to love it, and I developed a few tricks for occupying toddlers on a plane.  In fact, when we flew from Europe back to the US, people actually congratulated us on how well Pudding (aged 2 1/2) had behaved on the 10 hour flight.  We know it could just as easily have gone the other way though!

We’re not the first spectrummy family to take a long flight, nor will we be the last.  So rather than continuing to dwell in panic and fear, I’ve decided to take a more proactive approach.

I thought it would be great if we could all share our knowledge about traveling to make it easier.  I’m going to create a little series of posts where I ask you to share your tips.  We can all benefit from one another’s advice.  If you are a blogger, just add your link.  Otherwise, write a comment.  You don’t have to have children on the spectrum to chip in.  Our kids are all pretty different, something that appeals to one can be repellent to another, but you just might have the trick to help a family get through this challenge.  And if your tip helps our family, I will lavish you with gratitude.

Travel is a really huge area to talk about, so why don’t we start with just the airport?  The lovely DQ sent me this link which is a guide to Manchester Airport (UK) for children with ASD.  It is really useful, I would LOVE it if every airport produced something similar, but this would be pretty useful as a guide anyway.  We live less than 30 minutes away from the airport, so we plan on taking a drive out there one weekend to watch the planes, and take photos for a social story.  We also have a Fisher-Price airport playset to role play.  Cubby was only 4 months old on his last flight, so he really doesn’t have the concept down yet.  Playing helps him to prepare for what will happen.

After our last flight, we purchased a trunki ride-on rolling suitcase for Pudding at the airport.  We haven’t flown since, so I can’t vouch for how well it works, but it might alleviate boredom, and is cute enough for kids to want to pull themselves.  My plan is to put her weighted blanket in there, so she could get some good proprioceptive input as she walked around the airport.

Alright, there you have a couple of tips from me about airports, but I’d love to hear some more.  Does anyone have any sage advice for dealing with airport security?  How do you make waiting in queues more bearable?  What helps prevent sensory overload in airports?  Anything you can suggest to help pass the time at the airport?

I’d love your help.  So would Pudding and a lot of kids like her.

Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 8, 2011 at 7:19 am