Flying for the first time

(12 Posts)
Tdodz Mon 05-Jun-17 17:51:37

Hello,
I need a bit of help. Me, my partner and his 7 year old son who has autism are flying to Orlando in July. This will be my DSs first time flying. Am I best to contact the airport or the airline? just want to see if they offer any assistance. We don't know how he will react to the airport environment with all the noise and crowds. I'm sure he will be just fine and the excitement of seeing Micky will keep him occupied but I would rather have a plan in place just in case. We are flying united airlines from Heathrow.

OP’s posts: |
Polter Mon 05-Jun-17 19:35:09

The NAS have run some training and awareness with various airports so it's worth looking into what assistance is available.

I would put together a sensory survival kit including things like noise cancelling headphones, hoody, sunglasses, hat, blanket, fidgets and chews type things. Make sure he's wearing really comfortable clothes and shoes. Get him a really comfy rucksack to keep his stuff in, the weight can provide good sensory feedback and be calming.

(My ds has never flown but I'm imagining what I would do!)

zzzzz Mon 05-Jun-17 19:40:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Mon 05-Jun-17 19:42:19

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

zzzzz Mon 05-Jun-17 20:36:24

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Tdogz Mon 05-Jun-17 21:01:34

Thank you for the tips, (sorry don't know how to tag) we always try to have him bright colours when going out (thank god he likes bright colours!) I never even thought about the toilet, will get his dad to go with him. We have booked our seats as we wanted to make sure we were together. Will defernitly take a pic of him each day, don't fancy losing him in Disney. He is pretty good and don't wonder of too much but with all the sights and sounds at Disney I'm petrified of him wondering off. I will be getting him a band with our numbers on just in case. I have also seen on another forum snack boxes that have Disney stickers on so I will be making him one of those, he does love his food!!

Do you know if we let the airline know before we fly or let them know when we check in as I'm bit worried about security he can react to be touched by people he don't know. We have already discussed about one of us going throug the metal detector first then him going through just so we have one of us each side in case he gets scared.

Friolero Mon 05-Jun-17 21:02:57

Have a look on the Heathrow website to see if they what they can do in terms of special assistance. Gatwick gives out lanyards to people with hidden disabilities to identify them to staff as needing extra support through the airport - not sure if Heathrow does anything similar?

AttilaTheMeerkat Tue 06-Jun-17 11:55:54

I think you will need to contact United themselves to arrange assistance for your family through the airport. They will also be responsible for you all when you are on the aircraft.

This may also be useful for you to read:-
www.autism.org.uk/about/family-life/holidays-trips/preparation

I hope you all have a great holiday.

TieGrr Mon 12-Jun-17 16:28:56

Usborne have a first experience book about going on a plane. Depending on his understanding of language, it might be a little too simple for him. But I did find the moving house one very useful for my DD when she was nearly 6.

crazybat Tue 13-Jun-17 00:10:10

Just got back from holiday used gatwick they were very accommodating. Special assistance gave him a special lanyard and badge he got to ride in a cart through the airport and we were seated first. He also got treated very sensitively throughout security x

FlossieFrog Tue 13-Jun-17 11:08:13

Just found this for you:
http://www.heathrow.com/airport-guide/special-assistance/hidden-and-cognitive-disabilitieshttp://www.heathrow.com/filet_source/Heathrow/Static/PDF/Airport
guide/autism-passenger-guide.pdf
I would see whether you can get to go through the fast track queues if that would be helpful.

I would make sure you know where you are going to go and allow plenty of time so you can be as relaxed and calm as possible through the airport. If he's not used to headphones then buy some now and practice using them. It could be useful to get something to play airports eg playmobil or lego set, so you can talk through what happens. Alternatively something like an Usborne look inside book might be useful. I would try to get something that plays to his strengths and interests. He may get asked his name by security when they check his passport. Spend lots of time talking about what you're going to do, and what it might be like e.g. Lots of people, queues, different methods, loud noises, explain about the aeroplane toilets (whooshing noise can be scary).

I always make sure I have plenty of little books, stickers, snacks, other things to amuse DD during a flight. We're very lucky that she loves travelling, so we tend to have an easy time of it in airports other than her getting a bit over-excited.

I've started carrying a flannel around to dry DD's hands as she can't stand air hand dryers.

Hope some of this helps, and that you have a fab holiday, i hope you'll update after your trip.

Tdogz Wed 14-Jun-17 08:03:32

Thank you for all your tips, thank you for the links I will take a look at those. We are going to take him to the airport 2 weeks before we fly so he can see what it's like. I will speak to staff then. I have ordered some ear defenders today too so I will takao take those with me when we go for a visit. The ear defenders I'm sure will be a god send at disney.
I will order a copy of the book today. I have got some snack boxes to fill so he can snack on the plane and at our stop over airport. Just hope he is ok on the first flight or we could be in trouble with the connecting flight!
Thanks for all your tips and help, I will be sure to let you know how we got on. X

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