For some, traveling can be stressful. It’s one thing to travel alone, but when you are looking after someone else–much less someone who is sensitive to certain textures and environments–it’s tough to get where you’re going in one piece.
Over the last, decade I have committed my time to educating the general public on how to better communicate and interact with persons with Autism, and similar diagnosis. Here are a few tips for those caring for someone with sensory issues on a flight.
- Dress for the trip. Flying is not the time to wear new clothes, especially for children with sensory issues. Dress your child in the outfit they are most comfortable in.
- Bring activities and snacks. These are good distractions and can help with meltdowns. Depending on the length of your flight, you may need more than usual.
- Choose flight times wisely. Don’t fly during a time when you know your child may be more sensitive, tired, or easily disrupted.
- Notify security staff. Let security personnel know about your child’s sensory issues prior to walking through the screening process. They should be able to offer alternative methods of screening if needed.
- Be prepared and ask questions. Call the airline ahead of time and alert them about your child’s sensory needs. When boarding, make sure all flight attendants are aware of your child’s sensory needs. Don’t be hesitant to tell the passengers around you either. Sensory issues are nothing to be ashamed of!
- Pack a sensory suitcase. These are must for families dealing with sensory issues. Use any type of bag and fill with fidget toys, gum/candy, visual calming tools and noise-cancelling headphones to block loud sounds on the plane. This will keep your sensory “go to” tools close and help make your flight smoother.
– Amy Wilkinson, Springible Contributor