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Air Travel with Autism

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Autistic girl smiling

Air travel can be stressful for anyone, but it can be especially challenging for autistic individuals. While airlines should be accessible without requiring disabled individuals to call ahead of time, we still need reform to ensure easier access. However, with some extra preparation and planning, air travel can be made more manageable for individuals with autism and their families.

Here are some helpful tips for air travel if you or a loved one is autistic.

Inform The Airline Ahead Of Time That You or Your Child Has Autism

Many accommodations are federally mandated and most airlines request that you let them know if someone needs assistance ahead of time. This will give them sufficient time to advise the flight attendants and allow them to prepare in advance so that they may be able to better address your access needs.

Bring Earplugs and Headphones

This will help avoid sensory overload and will definitely come in handy during takeoff and landing.

Pack Some Favorite Toys and Entertainment

Familiar toys and games will not only provide comfort, but it will also keep your mind off the airplane’s less than ideal environment.

In addition to these tips, here are some other helpful items to consider bringing when traveling by air:

  • A comfortable outfit and shoes
  • Sensory toys
  • A tablet with your favorite movies and shows– Snacks and drinks
  • A physical book, e-reader, or audiobook on your cell phone
  • Comfort items such as a favorite stuffed animal or blanket

In conclusion, air travel can be difficult and inaccessible for individuals with autism and their families, but with some extra preparation and planning, it can be made more manageable. By informing the airline ahead of time, bringing identification and comfort items, and taking steps to reduce sensory overload, you can help make the journey smoother and more enjoyable. Remember to take advantage of the resources available from organizations like Easterseals, and don’t hesitate to ask for help or accommodations when needed. With these tips in mind, you can confidently embark on your next air travel adventure.

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