Autism Watch: 2007

We Left on a Jet Plane

Posted on: May 14, 2009

Last week we headed back east…to the south, specifically. Rural south. Family is there, and so is almost everything I love about rural life, to the point of considering a move. Again. This time, we are really trying to make it happen. More on that later.

We flew. Just four of us this time. Got on a plane from our local airport, had a layover in Atlanta, and took a hopper from there. A turbulent hopper. Little guy was getting claustrophobic and had issues with the bumpiness. Did I say it was turbulent? We apparently flew over and around those tornadoes that were hitting Alabama last week, but I’m not sure how far around we went, we went up and down more than either of the kids liked. Or me, for that matter. I like to fly. Love it. But I could do without the nausea bad weather can bring on.

The flights, otherwise, were without incident. Both flights there and back they allowed us to pre-board. Only one gate agent told us to get in line with the Zone 1 people, but we got in line up front and there were no hassles, crowds or anything other form of flight-induced torture. I know we got a few looks when we got in line after the announcements about needing to pre-board for small children, wheelchair or other assistance. My little guy isn’t ‘small’ in the eyes of most, though he is still a small 8 year old. We just smiled and continued onwards. The only issue that got a bit hairy was when the baby whoneverstoppedcryingtheentireflight bugged his ears. After a while, he had a hard time. Said baby was two rows behind us and mom didn’t appear to be doing a whole lot other than bouncing him in his seat. (Note to moms with small babies: flying is fine. I did it myself, it’s a necessary evil, and you have every right to be on the plane that we do. But, try. There were 8 other babies on the flight whose moms were a little more, let’s say, energetic about trying to stop the crying. Standing up during non-turbulent sections can work. Something more than “shhhh” and rocking, please.) Ds was laying across dh’s lap, hands shoved in his ears, dh trying to block the sounds. Blessedly, he made it through the flight, only to have every slow person in the world in front of us during deplaning. (Note to travellers: get your luggage settled before it’s your turn to go up the aisle. It’s not time to rearrange your bag, brush your hair, dial your cellphone or chit-chat. Get. Off. The. Plane.) Ds was then really claustrophobic and jumping in the aisle to get fresh air. One aisle let us out in front of them. Thank you. Even that helped.

But, we arrived home in one piece, everyone happy, tired and missing the south.

Flying with autistic kids can be rough. This isn’t our first time, so we had quite a bag of tricks, literally and figuratively. It may not be perfect, and they may make some noise, but what amazed me the most is that people feel guilty about staring at or complaining about a crying baby with an apathetic mom though they don’t hesitate to turn and stare at a young child squirming in his seat saying he can’t breathe and may throw up. Even though the baby cried the whole flight and the young child squirmed 10 minutes. People, get a grip.

I will fly again. Same airline even. (Delta, your attendants were great!) I just may take better earphones for him next time.

Now that we’re back to reality, and we all know reality can bite, we have the emergency IEP this afternoon. I’ve got no less than 30 pages of documentation to take about social issues, studies, programs, research, experiences, you name it. No, I don’t expect them to read it during the meeting but it will be reference material for me to back up our requests, and they can read it after. I typically don’t sign IEP paperwork during the meeting itself. Dh and I will be there at 3pm sharp, ready to move to the next level. These morning panic attacks and afternoon hysterics have got to stop. And I’m not blaming ds — he’s doing the best with what he’s been given. We don’t throw small kids in the ocean and say “swim, darn it, and quit splashing me.” So, why do we expect a kid to be thrown into a sea of socialness without the proper training/skills? Not happening for this little guy anymore. And I feel bad I let it happen this long.

I’ll update after the IEP. Maybe I’ll even get back to blogging more frequently. I do have high hopes. I also have a full-time job and a litany of appointments over the next few weeks as my younger dd graduates from confirmation and 8th grade. (Think dental filling, dress fitting, orthodontist consult, vision exams for her and I, amongst others.) I have so much to say, and so little time lately. (Notice I didn’t say “so much to say lately?” I always have a lot to say.)

And I’ll talk about the possible move. The whys and the hows and the whens. If it’s supposed to happen, it’ll happen, without too many difficult hoops, so we’ll see. I do know it’s a better lifestyle for ds. I just have to be sure it’s right for the rest of us, too. Leaving California and this housing market makes it hard to come back too easily.

2 Responses to "We Left on a Jet Plane"

plane rides can be tough! The Roc flies a couple times every year so he’s getting good at it. Our struggle is going to be when I can no longer jam him into a stroller (this summer! eek!). He’s going to have major problems with the CROWDS at the airport, security, gate, etc. Interested to hear about the possible move!

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