autism support groups near Durham | ShineLight Services

Autism and Flying: A How-to Guide

Flying can be a challenge for anyone. However, flying with autism has its own unique set of challenges that must be overcome in order to have a less stressful travel experience. Some of the challenges faced by flying with autism include navigating a crowded airport, dealing with TSA requirements, loud noises associated with flying, and delays and disruptions to schedules. If you are interested in flying with your loved one with autism, ShineLight provides autism support groups near Durham, NC which may be able to help as you plan your next trip.

The Importance of Planning Ahead

When planning your flight, it’s important to discuss plans and expectations with your loved one with autism. The more information people with autism have about flying, the less anxiety they may feel during the whole process. Plan how you can mitigate the noise levels in airports and during flights. Noise-canceling headphones can be an amazing addition to your flight preparation.

Let the autistic flyer know what the schedule is from the time you plan to leave your home to drive to the airport to the expected boarding time. Also, be very clear to convey estimated flight times and arrival at your destination. If there are any layovers, make sure to let your loved one know prior to boarding so that they will know that moving from one plane to another is part of the process.

Set the ground rules well before leaving your home so that your loved one has set expectations. Check with the airport to see what kinds of snacks are allowed to be brought onto the flight so you can pack “comfort foods” for the person with autism. Look for a social story on flying (or create one of your own) so flying with autism is not a mystery. Also, if your loved one is calmer with some type of handheld device (whether it’s a gaming system, fidget spinner, or other sensory items) see which ones you can take on your flight to help alleviate stressors.

Help your loved one with autism pack for the trip to minimize stressors. Let them know what items can and cannot be packed to avoid any issues with TSA, and prepare them for the TSA inspections prior to boarding the airplane. Communicate clearly with the TSA officials as well to inform them that your loved one has sensory processing issues.

Autism Support Groups Near Durham

Planning and executing flights that keep autistic loved ones stress-free and happy is often challenging. By joining autism support groups near Durham and properly planning and packing for your trip, you are helping to ensure an enjoyable day out with your child or loved one with autism.

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ShineLight Provides Autism Support Groups Near Durham and Beyond

ShineLight was created with the distinct purpose of providing a brighter life and future for individuals with autism. ShineLight serves as a guiding light for individuals and their families by leading the way in support services and community advocacy. Their service areas include: Fayetteville, Wake, Sampson, Scotland, Duplin, Wayne, Lenoir, Greene, Wilson, Edgecombe, Durham, Johnston, Cumberland, Hoke, Robeson, and Bladen Counties. Contact us today.

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