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to refuse to let my son who has Aspergers fly alone at 12 yrs old

(50 Posts)
RCToday Tue 30-Aug-11 00:32:41

His Dad doesnt accept he has Aspergers and has never supported him and has no understanding of ASD's

Its a 3 hour train journey, bus across a city and a 1 hour flight

I said no, DS has a lot of other important issues to deal and I will see when DS is older and more settled

So AIBU?

worraliberty Tue 30-Aug-11 00:38:39

Has he been formally diagnosed? I only ask because I do know a lot of people over the years on the internet have spoken of their 'Aspergers' children...only to find it's the Mum's opinion.

If the opinion is a professional one then the man needs to wake up and listen to what he's being told.

Either way, some 12yr olds without any kind of SN wouldn't be comfortable with that level of travel alone.

YANBU if you think for whatever reason your DS wouldn't feel happy or safe travelling alone.

Birdsgottafly Tue 30-Aug-11 00:42:30

Only you can answer this as children vary immensely.

You cannot lump children together with SN's anymore than you can with any other group.

Is the whole journey going to be on his own or just the flight?

Birdsgottafly Tue 30-Aug-11 00:43:43

Btw have you checked with the airline, a lot won't take DC's under 14.

RCToday Tue 30-Aug-11 00:44:49

Yes he was formally diagnosed about 6 years ago, so part of life for us now

But his Dad will not accept it and wants to push him all the time

RCToday Tue 30-Aug-11 00:46:40

His Dad wants him to do the whole journey alone

The airline allows it from 12 year old

Birdsgottafly Tue 30-Aug-11 00:50:19

The whole journey alone sounds a bit much, even withour SN's.

Do you think he is capable? If not, then its a no. You aren't denying contact, you are keeping him safe.

tabulahrasa Tue 30-Aug-11 00:51:02

Well the hour long flight would bother me much less than the train and bus, once you're in an airport you can't really do anything worse than miss that plane - you're not likely to get on the wrong one or get off at the wrong place, lol.

I'd not let my NT 11 yr old do that, nevermind my 15 yr old with AS

Birdsgottafly Tue 30-Aug-11 00:56:24

If you send him on his way and anything goes wrong then you will be held responsible.

The train line or airline will not hesitate to call the police and SS, if anything goes wrong.

worraliberty Tue 30-Aug-11 00:58:51

It doesn't matter what the airline allows

YANBU at all if your think he needs a chaperone

RCToday Tue 30-Aug-11 01:01:34

That what I think

Will show DS the thread in the morning and he can see I'm not just being mean

Although I dont think he would be comfortable with the journey but he feels under pressure from his Dad

tabulahrasa Tue 30-Aug-11 01:12:11

Well if you're showing it to your DS...

There's too many variables, the train and bus might not run to schedule, navigating a bus change hours away from home is tricky for adults, nevermind a 12 yr old. It's really easy to get confused and end up on the wrong bus (I've done it, lol) check in at airports is horrible and confusing, milling crowds in a noisy place where it's not clear at all where to go or who to ask for help if you need it.

Asperger's or not, it's not a journey that I think any 12 year old would manage to do - like I said I wouldn't let my 15 yr old do that.

MrsFlittersnoop Tue 30-Aug-11 01:13:18

My Ds has Aspergers. He is just 15, and this summer, took his first long train journeys (including changes) to visit his Dad in London, and to stay with friends in Cornwall.

DS was fine and really enjoyed himself. But I would never have allowed him to do this when he was only 12 and far less mature, even though we are a non-car household and extremely accustomed to public transport of all varieties

And we still had the odd panic, and text / phone-call about whether he was on the right train/platform etc.

Could you compromise on the trip? Is there any way you could accompany him part of the way and make sure he is escorted for the rest of the journey? This is what we have been doing with DS for the last few years.

Is your Ex aware that 12 year old children are not allowed to travel on trains unaccompanied? And you have to make special arrangements with the airline for them to travel on their own at that age?

MrsFlittersnoop Tue 30-Aug-11 01:14:32

Just to add - Ds used to take the tube to school from the age of 11 in London. I would STILL never have allowed him to take the sort of trip you are describing.

fishtankneedscleaning Tue 30-Aug-11 01:14:45

Personally, I would not allow a 12 year old to undertake this journey - Even without SN. Much too risky in my book........There again some people may find their child responsible enough to take care of themselves.

I guess the call is yours OP. But if you feel your child is not up to the journey then I find YANBU.

TheLadyEvenstar Tue 30-Aug-11 01:19:32

My DS1 is 13 (just) and there is no way I would allow him to do this journey alone, he too has Asperger.

He travels to
school alone - 8 minutes on the bus
My mums alone - 25 minutes on the bus - 38 when traffic is bad (so DS tells me)
and he goes to the local shop alone but thats it.

HansieMom Tue 30-Aug-11 02:49:14

I don't think that sounds suitable at all. Too many things happening and that's if things go right! I think it would be a trial for him even if he was accompanied.

Gonzo33 Tue 30-Aug-11 06:08:08

If he was flying as an unaccompanied minor and you were taking him to the airport I would say ywbu, but he would not be and I think it would be too much for any 12 year old unaccompanied.

My ds and dss (separately) recently flew as unaccompanied minors. One is 10 and one is 12. No way would I have allowed the 12 year old to fly without airline supervision.

hellhasnofury Tue 30-Aug-11 08:43:11

My 19 year old Asperger's son would struggle with that. He'd be fine to do it once we'd done a dry run with him but he'd not be confident to do it alone until then. He gets completely confused and lost if things differ from what he's expecting so we need to plan for delays/changes of route/cancellations etc with him first.

stressedHEmum Tue 30-Aug-11 08:46:03

My 18 year old has AS and couldn't do this journey at all. It's only in the last few months that he has been able to go into town on his own (10min walk then 10min bus) and even that can be fraught with difficulty. The bus might be late, it might be crowded, someone might speak to him, he might not get off/on at the right stop, town maybe busy and noisy........

If things don't go completely to plan, it throws him off his stride, he becomes confused and anxious and then issues arise. There are also issues on long journeys around things like going to the toilet, making changes, remembering to eat/drink, dealing with all sorts of different tickets. I wouldn't even consider it.

DS has just started college (on a course especially for AS teens), DH has spent the whole summer training him to make the journey there and back. He still needed to phone 2ce yesterday to check that he was at the right bus stop etc.

I wouldn't let my 14year old make a journey of this length unaccompanied either, though, even though he is NT. He just isn't organised enough to cope with all the changes and variables.

Mitmoo Tue 30-Aug-11 09:00:07

I am not sure that you can trust your son's father's judgement at all and wonder if he thinks this is safe what he will push him into doing when he has him in his care. I too have an ex who doesn't accept the diagnosis.

While we can't generalise with ASD there are many common traits shared by children who have it.

One is not being comfortable in strange and unknown places.
I know my son struggles with travel especially when he thought no one in Spain would speak English!
The noise can be an issue and make them overload, I stress not all but some. The noise and busyness of the train strations could be problematic.

If he got on the wrong train he could end up in a meltdown.

He's only 12 anyway I wouldn't allow a NT child to do train changes, bus changes and planes alone.

I would seriously rethink whether the father is capable of looking after him if he can't see anything wrong with this.

Maryz Tue 30-Aug-11 09:09:45

It isn't the journey - I'm sure he would be fine to do each of the individual trips alone. 3 hours on a train, fine. Bus, fine. Flying alone, fine. But it's the transfers from one mode of transport to the other that is the problem.

What happens if the train breaks down? Will he know what bus to take to get to the airport. If he is late to check-in what happens?

I wouldn't let my NT 12 year old do this (and usually I'm on here telling everyone not to worry so much, their kids will be fine).

This isn't a question of not trusting him, or worrying about his Asperger's. There are simply too many variables for any child to cope with, I would think.

ds flew alone at 12, but I took him to the airport.

halcyondays Tue 30-Aug-11 09:14:45

It sounds like quite a daunting journey for any 12 year old, Aspergers or not. YANBU

mummytime Tue 30-Aug-11 09:28:01

MrsFlittersnoop sorry just to add 12 year olds can travel by train unaccompanied and do around here on a daily basis.
However this journey has just too many steps to go wrong. Trains can be delayed (and tubes frequently are). So can buses. I have got on a train going in the wrong direction, my 15 year old has managed to "lose" his train ticket twice (he does now know exactly what to do when this happens). Buses in different places require you to pay in different ways, and always tend to be stroppy if you don't have the right money (even if they let you pay on the bus). Bus stops are sometimes moved.
The plane sounds like the best bit, but I'd have thought most airlines would like a 12 year old to be an unaccompanied minor, because what if: there is a hurricane, a volcanic eruption, never mind delays because of a faulty radio or lack of water (those two happened on my last plane trip).

seeker Tue 30-Aug-11 09:50:10

I let my NT children do loads of still other kids aren't allowed to do- but I wouldn't have been happy with this at 12. Too many opportunities for things to go wrong. Each element seperatly would be fine, but not managing the connections.

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