There is no reason to avoid airports and traveling because you have a child with special needs. Yes, special measures and extra planning need to be done, but with the right organization and a good attitude, flying with your special needs child can be manageable.
Let Them Know — Informing Security Guards and Flight Attendants
The easiest way to help people understand your situation is to inform them. Let security guards know that your child has special needs and of any special equipment or medications that needs to be carried on the flight. Also let security officers know that your child may become upset or fussy during the screening process.
Ask and allow security guards to assist you with your items on the security belt. For an easier time through the metal detector, make sure to dress your child in easy, slip on shoes and avoid metal belts or accessories. Having your ID and your child’s ID ready and close at hand can also keep you sailing through the many lines.
Once on the flight, let flight attendants know if you have medications that need to be refrigerated. Keeping a copy of your child’s medical records in your purse is also a good idea to prevent any questioning or to explain your child’s behavior.
Proper Restraint on the Plane
Depending on the special needs your child has, proper seating arrangements and restraining devices should be taken into consideration. Try to pick the front seats of the airplane so that your child will not kick the seat in front of them. Also, the use of a booster seat or car seat can help keep your child restrained, keeping them from too moving around too much or running from their seats.
Distracting Your Child
Do not underestimate how many items to bring when it comes to distracting your child. You know that he or she can go through several videos or books without getting bored. Use digital devices such as an iPad, laptop, or personal DVD player to keep his or her attention during a long flight. Also, bring several books, coloring items, and toys that will keep them distracted. Do not forget device chargers and extra batteries to avoid a meltdown if your electronic device dies.
There is always the chance that flight attendants and other passengers will not understand why your child with special needs acts the way they do. While some may be nice, others can be downright rude and unsympathetic. Don’t let a bad flight or the bad attitudes of others ruin your vacation. Remember the flight is only part of the trip, so if it does end up being a bad flight, you still have the rest of your vacation to enjoy.
Photo by timsamoff