Travelling with your ASD child

Travel with kids can be stressful. There can be plenty of turbulence before you even get on the plane. We were blessed to go away this summer, and I did my homework. I planned an itinerary for the whole family, mainly to ensure that we covered all tastes for beach – versus – party – versus exploration and adventure. Yes, I had my work cut out.

I’m either super-organised or super-disorganised, no middle-ground here. I contacted Gatwick ahead of time to explain I would be travelling with a senior citizen and a young person with autism spectrum disorder and ADHD. Could they help?

It turns out, they could. I got an email reply within a few ours of mine, filled in a questionnaire by return and within a day or two I understood how they could help us. There’s the sensory room, slightly easier boarding and lanyards for people with autism or other disabilities.

happyinschool
Gatwick Airport Sensory Room

All of the information is on this link: https://www.gatwickairport.com/at-the-airport/passenger-services/special-assistance/facilities-and-services/

With all travel experiences, you need to prepare for the unexpected. In spite of contacting them in plenty of time, on the day we travelled they had run out of lanyards. Apart from that we had a smooth transit through passport control and were escorted by a helpful member of staff to the lovely, clean and secure sensory room.  As a bonus, it was right near the Gate we were departing from, so we were almost ‘wing ready.’ Apart from me; I’m a slightly nervous flyer (ok, I have been known to almost pass out on take-off through nerves) but I was the lead passenger, so I had to keep my cool. In fact, the sensory room calmed me down. Knowing the senior and young person with autism & ADHD travelling with me were calm, put me at ease. And you know the first rule of taking care of others is to look after yourself, don’t you?

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Soft colours, lighting, tactile – we actually forgot we were going on holiday (not for long!)

We were so lucky. We managed to avoid, strikes and the collapse of an airline. I cannot image how stressful that is for the passengers involved, and then there’s the crew. Hope you all get home soon.

happyinschool says goodbye to Thomas Cook
Good bye Thomas Cook

© Suzy Rowland

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