Autism and Flight Changes
How to deal with unexpected change
My son used to have issues with unexpected changes. The unexpected would often led to meltdowns.
He couldn’t wrap his head around sudden change.
Now that my child is thirteen, he has improved in that area.
However, I was recently reminded of how unexpected change can throw him for a loop.
My son and I were traveling back from the East Coast at the end of June. When we arrived at the airport, we were informed that not only had the airline changed the type of plane we were about to fly in, but they changed our seats.
In a big way.
When I bought the tickets, I had selected seats in the middle section of the plane with my son in his usual window seat.
Now, our seats were in the last row, and in the middle section.
No window seat for my son.
What did I do?
Well, I complained to the airlines, but it did no good. All the airline representatives did was shrug and say, “The plane changed and we had to move your seats. I didn’t do it.”
I was upset, but I also had to deal with my son. My reaction had to be tempered because I had to get my son through this flight.
What I said to my son was that the airline had made the change. It was out of our control, and we had to except it.
I had to play it cool.
Was that all that happened?
When we got to our seats, they were pretty poor. The middle seats in the middle section at the back of the plane.
Fortunately, a kind man switched seats with my son so he could, at least, sit in an aisle seat.
With the seat situation finally settled (not really to our satisfaction), we were ready to go.
However, the weather did not cooperate.
The pilot told the passengers that our flight was going to be an hour and a half late due to bad weather.
This time, my son did get upset.
Too much for him
Apparently, the combination of the seat change and the delayed flight was a bit too much for my son. He got upset.
Getting upset on a crowded plane is not a great situation.
I quickly and quietly talked to him.
He avoided a meltdown. Fortunately, he is older, easier to talk to, and better at change. I kept myself calm and convinced him that we can’t control the weather.
Getting through it
I instructed him to walk around the plane in order to calm himself (the other passengers were also up and about).
We talked some more and then we played a game on his iPad.
After about forty minutes, the pilot announced that the delay was shortened and they were now going to get ready to take off.
All in all, my middle school-aged son handled the unexpected better than expected.
He’s getting older and getting better at handling unexpected situations, and keeping himself calm instead of melting down.
Autism and Flight Changes.
Here are some more tips on flying with your autistic child:
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