Flying soon? 5 Tips to Prepare Your Child with Autism for Air Travel

Have you ever been stressed about traveling on an airplane with your kiddo?  Worried about their behaviors?  Concerned about what people will think?  Just have an overwhelming feeling that it’s not worth it?

Well, you’re not alone!  Many parents of children with autism feel like flying is not worth the stress.  But, we’ve put together 5 simple tips to help prepare your child and your whole family for your next trip!

5 Travel Tips for Individuals With Autism
  1. Put up a monthly calendar with the departure date clearly marked, and have the individual check off every day until departure.
  2. Do not wash any items (including plush toys) before the trip as the individual may feel comfort in the “home” smell of their cherished item.
  3. Put together a picture or word schedule of the actual journey to take with you on your trip. Add extra pages to create a travel book.
  4. Taking a short trip before attempting long voyages, if possible, is recommended. This will help the individual get used to traveling and give you the opportunity to plan ahead for possible areas of difficulty.
  5. The individual with autism should always carry identification. Make sure they have an ID tag attached to them somewhere, with a current phone number written on it.
Tips on traveling through Indianapolis International Airport
  • You can go to the Indianapolis International Airport public area (Parking, Ticketing, Food Court, and Baggage Claim) to explore, get used to the crowds, sights, sounds, etc. Plus watch the airplanes. You will have to pay for your own parking and not be able to go past the security check. But this option is still a good opportunity to practice your travel day.
  • Download Social Story about going to the airport.
  • Watch Video Social Story about going through the airport step by step.
  • Check out TSA Cares to learn more about travelers requiring special accommodations or concerned about the security screening process at the airport may ask a TSA officer or supervisor for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance.

With preparation traveling through an airport could be a great experience for individuals with autism. Just remember to breathe and take it one step at a time.

Learn more about our ASI Soaring for Autism program.


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