Spectrummy Mummy

Asperger's, Allergies, and Adventures Abroad

Posts Tagged ‘flight


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Back when we first started planning our trip to England, I wasn’t working.  By the time the trip came around, I was employed, and things were busy.  Not only was I new to the job, but the last couple of months are the busiest time of year, and then because of certain organizational changes, and certain people visiting, things were even busier.  There wasn’t time to think in those last few days, let alone pack, prepare the kids, and prepare the office.  Which means it was perfect timing for things to go horribly wrong.

In the week leading up to our departure, Cubby was ill, followed by myself and Spectrummy Daddy in quick succession.  We all recovered, and were feeling well by Friday, the day of departure.  I hadn’t been in the office for long when the call came from Pudding’s school that she was ill.  I raced out to get her, and out to the doctor.  She was feverish, and looked miserable, which was just how I felt.

Pudding was much more defensive than she usually is with the GP- a sure sign that she was ill.  With much patience and coaxing, the doctor managed to assess her, and promptly diagnosed Tonsilitis and a chest infection.  I must have looked how I felt, because the doctor told me she’d give Pudding some medicine, and she’d be fine to travel.  Really?  Yes, because I was her patient too, and she knows how much I needed to get away.  Pudding could be treated, and would soon be back to full health.

I asked our Regional Medical Officer for a second opinion, and he concurred.  The trip was still on, we just had to get the medication inside her.

That was easier written than done.

Pudding refused all medications, both tablet and syrup forms.  We tried mixing it into drinks, we tried bribing her, she refused.  She was not going to take that medicine!  And I wasn’t, I mean I just wasn’t going to put her through that flight without medication.  I couldn’t.  I didn’t voice it out loud, but I mentally prepared myself for not boarding.  Time ticked on, and we were sent to the gate, still without Pudding taking her medicine.

And then I saw it….a Hello Kitty fan!

Now, Hello Kitty is the tops for Pudding in terms of special interests.  But fans are the most stimtastic things for Pudding.  She learned at just a few weeks old that if she screamed if the fan was turned off, we’d turn it back on for her.  I remember Pudding not engaging in most of the assessments during her evaluation because there was a fan in the room, and she just had to keep telling us about it, and staring at it, and spinning like it.  Fans?  Fans are big.  Hello Kitty fans?  Colossal.  I instructed Spectrummy Daddy to furtively buy one.

And moments before boarding, I showed it to her.  She could have it, but she had to take the medicine.  And this time, no fuss, no fight.  She took it all.  Her temperature started to drop immediately.  And for the first time that long day, she was all smiles.

As we passed through the entrance to board the plane, one of the ground staff asked Pudding if it was her magic wand.  And of course, Pudding corrected her that it was a Hello Kitty fan.  She was right, but it was my magic wand.  And to England we did go by the grace of that Hello Kitty fan.  We ended up losing it a week or so later in some motorway services in the north of England with some other Kitty paraphernalia.

I like to think that some magic rubbed off to whoever was lucky enough to hold it next.  Because in spite of that truly turbulent start, the rest of the flight was smooth…and Pudding recovered quickly, and well, I’ll tell you some of the rest of our magical adventures another time.


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

September 26, 2012 at 5:19 pm

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

Cabin Fever

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You know when you become ill, and you just want to lie still in bed, or on the sofa in a cosy blanket? I do. I had a cold last week, and after Tuesday’s drama, it took a turn for the worse. I woke up on Wednesday morning and could hardly move. Spectrummy Daddy was already getting ready for work when I informed him that he wasn’t going anywhere. One of the more challenging parts of our nomadic lifestyle is not having family around to call on. I feel guilty keeping him home, especially when I’ve had such a tough winter with my health. I only do it when there is no option.

By afternoon on Wednesday, I could get out of bed, but still felt pretty lousy. I moved to the sofa for a while, but then went back to bed. On Thursday I felt a little better. In an ideal world I’d have rested for another day, but that wasn’t to be.  I was glad to put Pudding on the school bus. Cubby can be a handful at times, but he is fairly content to stay at home if necessary.

At 10 I got an email from Ms. S saying that Pudding seemed really congested. I called and said I’d collect her. Forgive me if I wasn’t feeling overjoyed at the prospect. You see, you know when you become ill and you just want to stay in bed, or on the sofa in a cosy blanket? Pudding doesn’t. In her four years on this planet, there has only been one occasion when she has voluntarily gone to bed in the daytime, and that was at Christmas. I took a photo of her napping on the couch because it was so note-worthy. She gave up naps at 18 months, and in sickness and in health she maintains an exhausting activity level all day long. Usually, she becomes even more hyper than usual when she is ill.

And so it was on Thursday. I was worn out. I tried to lure her with a movie, but the second she got her popcorn, she skipped away with it. She did not want to stay at home, and let me know that every few minutes or so.

By Friday, I was feeling better, but she was still ill. We played with almost every toy she owned, we did puzzles, we did crafts. She breezed through everything, still wanting to go to the playground, but I refused. She asked me repeatedly where I wanted to go to, and would be angered by my reply that we were staying home. I tried TV, her iPad, the computer, but all she wanted to do was go somewhere. With a hacking cough and streaming nose, there was no way I would allow it.

By Saturday she was better, and we could leave the house, to her great relief. By Sunday she was fine, so we left the house, though it was pouring with rain, and I’d have preferred staying indoors. Today I’ll be gladly waving her off to a half day of school.

For a spectrum child, she is unusual. Routines aren’t very important to her. She transitions very well. The difficulties that most parents have upon leaving the house aren’t so bad for us. I can just tell her we’re going out, and she’ll put her shoes on. But expecting her to stay inside? That is a problem. It isn’t so bad, is it? She loves going to restaurants and the mall. She adores playgrounds and museums. Anywhere novel is exciting.  Though sensory overload can happen, it is mercifully rare. We’ve never had to use visual schedules with her, and I only use a (picture) social story when something very different is happening, like going on vacation. Her allergies are more of a problem when we are out, but she behaves significantly better than if we stay at home. The vast majority of her meltdowns take place at home.  So we go out a lot. No big deal.

Except on Friday, when she had every means of entertainment at her hands, she still wanted out. She truly hates being kept indoors for a long period of time. The snow is not our friend for this reason. And on Friday, I learned that we will be taking two flights to get to South Africa, the second of which is 16 hours long.  Sixteen.Hours.Long.

Cabin fever.


Written by Spectrummy Mummy

March 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm