Greetings Earthlings! 🙂
Following a recent trip to Amsterdam a very wise friend suggested that I discuss the subject of autism and travel in this weeks blog 🙂
We all love nothing more than a nice trip away for a new adventure or some much needed R and R. For autists however, travelling overseas, (like life in general 😛 ), can be very stressful.
The crowds, the smells, lack of sleep, ear popping, travel sickness, the stress of beeping going through airport security knowing that random people may invade your personal space- it’s a lot to process!
So how might one navigate some of these difficulties?
- Pack plenty of snacks– one of the trickiest aspects of travel I find is to find “Aoife friendly” food. If you’re travelling long hours without something decent in your stomach, it can be very difficult to stay sane. Eating healthier snacks may also help you avoid some travel sickness. Aoife’s Top Tip– the discovery of Belvita Breakfast Biscuits has made my life sooooo much easier!
- Sleep/Caffeine– I know it’s not the easiest of tasks, but try to get as much sleep as possible before/during a flight. Nothing frays my temper quicker than sleep deprivation. Caffeine is also useful to help get you through the slumps- or Diet Coke if you like me have sensory issues with hot drinks 🙂
- Vigilance with metal– To avoid any unexpected pat downs, be sure to double check your pockets before security (you wouldn’t believe the things security have found in my granddad’s pockets- drill-bits to name but one memorable example! 😛 ). Be sure to also double check your hair clips and jewelry- real metals such as silver and gold won’t set the alarm off 🙂
- Neck pillows- there’s a lot to be said for a good neck pillow on a flight! These can really help to make an autist more comfortable in the cramped confinings of a plane
- Noise Cancelling Headphones/earplugs– These can be quite useful to help decrease the volume of your surroundings, and can also help to decrease the pressure round your ears in my experience. However, on my flight this week I learned that the use of large headphones is now forbidden for take off and landing- so you may need to check this out with your airline
In addition to this, airports are beginning to realize the importance of creating an autism friendly environment. Shannon Airport here in Ireland for example has established Europe’s first airport sensory room in the departures lounge. You can check it out here: http://www.shannonairport.ie/gns/passengers/prepare/autismandspecialneeds.aspx
Shannon airport have also implemented a customer care program for autists where special caps and wristbands are assigned so that airport staff can readily recognize and help an autist appropriately.
It’s only a matter of time before other international airports begin to follow suit 🙂
Happy travelling Earthlings! 😀