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Travelling with my son to Malta

DenisB Member Posts: 2
edited August 2016 in Autism and neurodiversity
I am wanting to take Ben a 28yr old with severe learning disability to malta problem Ben can't wait in queues and goes to pieces when having to go through the scanner at the airport. is there any help available at an airport or does anyone have suggestions thanks


  • Emma
    Emma Member Posts: 85 Connected
    edited June 2014
    Hi Denis,

    I've posted your question on Twitter, so hopefully you should receive some suggestions. As for waiting in queues, our Netbuddy tip is ... don't! Politely explain the situation to the people in front and ask if you can go ahead. Very rarely will anyone complain, and it's much better than letting Ben get upset and agitated.

    Best wishes, Editor
  • Heather
    Heather Member Posts: 168 Connected
    Hi. Although we've never flown, knowing my son wouldn't cope. We did go on EuroStar. He still didn't cope, but I have to say phoning well in advance and explaining the problems we envisaged was a God send. My son arrived and went to pieces, we had an allocated member of staff who took us into a quiet room and before the train was announced they escorted us slowly onto the platform. And at the other end we were greeted by staff who escorted us to the front and helped us through. We'd not repeat the exercise again as it was far too stressful for our son who has a mental age of about 4 and his epilepsy was enduced by the stress. But I have to say, if the staff weren't prepared in advance and helped us we wouldn't have even tried. So give lots of warning and ask for assistance. Above all, have a nice time!
  • BusyOT
    BusyOT Member Posts: 76
    Hi Denis. My advice is similiar to Heather - contact the airport in advance and do several trial runs. The biggest issue however will be your return trip, you won't be able to practice.
    A social story might help if Ben can use symbols. I'm reluctant to recommend but I have know others use it succesfully - perhaps a visit to a GP for some medication to reduce his anxiety before the flight might be useful (many individuals without LD will take medication to calm nerves before a flight).
    Good luck! I also know lots of folk with severe learning disabilities who go on holiday abroad and have a fantastic time.
  • DenisB
    DenisB Member Posts: 2
    Thanks for your input to date. We have already arranged a trip to the airport in 4 weeks time.Linda and I are very reluctant to ask for medication as Ben reacted like a Zombie when Ritalin was once prescribed for him he was completely spaced out couldn't walk straight and I had to walk backwords in front of him keeping him focused on me whilst talking gently to him as we returned to the doctors surgery and I walked him straight in thankfully a patient had just left the Dr's room. So we are trying to explore other ways but thanks.I will be contacting the airport shortly to ask for help or recomendations. Does anyone know if it is quicker to book in online and what are the advantages in our case?. regards Denis B
  • Heather
    Heather Member Posts: 168 Connected
    Hi Denis. Good luck with your pending airport visit. Ritalin is a strong medication, there are others and each work differently on individuals. Fennigan was prescribed for my son, he went as high as a kite...but my daughter crashed out on it! Bach Rescue Spray is a more natural, gentle approach. But well worth asking a professional what's available.
    BUT I nearly forgot to mention our BIGGEST mistake! Don't forget to make it clear to your son how many days, sleeps, it will be until he returns to his home. Realising that was our son's biggest stress that he was being taken away from his home comforts, really upset him. We now take a velcro strip displaying how many sleeps he will be away and when we are going home, and how. It was a big lesson we learnt.
  • JimJams
    JimJams Member Posts: 174 Connected
    Try and take the fear away of the unknown, use symbols , books, even take photos of every stage of the airport routine and prepare as much as possible in advance by showing the photos, symbols every day, take away the unpredictability which is a big part of the fear.
  • fairywishes
    fairywishes Member Posts: 25
    Perhaps do some role play at home with a pretend scanner that maybe beeps so he gets used to it. My daughter hates unexpected sounds but she is learning to be ok with them, if we play them to her in a safe place & quite then slowly build the noise up. No idea if this will help. As others suggest visual timetable of each step of the journey/airport is a good idea & talking to the staff before hand to make sure you stick to your timetable/steps. Good luck
  • Naomi
    Naomi Member Posts: 29 Listener
    When we book our holidays we always make it clear on the booking that are travelling with a special needs child and may need assitance. When we arrive at the airport we immediately contact the ground staff and explain the situation. That way we have someone to help us through check in and through security.They will often open a new security desk for us. It is helpful if you have checked in online (if possible) so only have baggage drop to complete. This is especially helpful for the return journey if you are leaving from a country that has less expereince of special needs. When you return make sure you contact ground staff to get you through customs. I met one of the managers of BAA many years ago and explained the problems of travelling with my son and he recommended doing this, and it seems to work as long as you are not shy about asking. One word of warning, some budget airlines are not disability friendly so ask around to get others experiences before you book. Good luck!


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