• Understanding Autism from the Inside

    “Academics came easily to me. The rest of life—not so much.”
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Air Travel with ASD Children

Aspie Teen and I traveled to Miami this past weekend. This was the first time that he has traveled by air since he was two years old. A Two-year-old Aspie Teen (obviously not a teen then) was an interesting child to fly with. I wish I had known about Jettly.com (see here) and their charter flights. It would have been so much easier in a chartered plane with just the two of us and not having to worry about the other people on the plane. Luckily, this time he remained impressed with watching cartoons on the in-seat TV screen that was available on JetBlue Airlines at the time (do they still have those?).

The Teen did well navigating the airports this time, but he was nervous and was stimming quiet a bit. His articulation suffered because of his anxiety, and no-one really understood much of what he was saying to them-and Aspie Teen asked A LOT of questions. Everyone he met from the ticketing counter, security, the in-flight crew, and baggage received a slew of questions. But, all in all, he did really well, and I am very proud of him.

I did a lot of smiling watching him bounce up and down in his seat, letting out the occasional squeal, as he pointed to everything below during take off and landing.

WingsforAutismORANGEBOSI saw a program being talked about on AccentHealth today while I was sitting in the doctor’s office called Wings of Autism. It is a program that takes place out of Logan International Airport in Boston, that allows autistic children to “practice” flying. The children participating in the program practice going to the ticketing counter, getting a boarding pass, going through security, and boarding the plane. On the plane, they are shown security procedures, get served refreshments, and even tour the cockpit. Aspie Teen would have LOVED it! (The younger ones would also!)

Although he is older than I think many of the children that participate, it would have been so helpful for him to be able to “practice” so he would have known what to expect when travel day arrived. I loved this idea, and with our trip fresh in my mind Wings for Autism peeked my interest immediately.

Is anyone in the Boston area? Have you heard of the program, or attended? I am sure we all would love to hear your experiences.


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Jeannie Davide-Rivera

Jeannie is an award-winning author, the Answers.com Autism Category Expert, contributes to Autism Parenting Magazine, and the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism. She lives in New York with her husband and four sons, on the autism spectrum.