Tuesday, January 24, 2012

To fly the friendly skies?

Well, in a few weeks I will do something that has become one of my biggest fears.  I will fly on a plane with my child.  Yes, we have done it before, but not in a couple of years.  Not since “the talking thing” as we call it started.  The talking thing is when Beckett cries and throws a fit because he doesn’t like the sound of other people talking.  It might be the tone of voice, the way the words go by so quickly that he can’t understand them, whatever it is, he doesn’t like it and basic conversation even the sound of the tv and radio can send him into hysterics.  We’ve tried  1,947,362 different things to attempt to remedy this issue.  It disappeared for some time, but has reoccurred recently.  It is not nearly as bad as it used to be, but can still be uncomfortable at times. 
Then why in the world are you taking him on a plane, you might ask?  Well, the simple answer is, he deserves to go on vacations and have a nice time like everyone else does, AND, he might NOT freak out on the plane – I just don’t know.   But, I will be awake at night thinking about it for the next month.  Then there will be the flight back home…
So, my husband and I will be armed with things to distract and entertain him on that plane in hopes that he doesn’t become agitated.  I decided to google “traveling on a plane with an autistic child” thinking I could maybe get a few other ideas.  While I did find a few ideas, I also found some comments that sure did fire me up!  I came across an article from USA today about how flying with children with autism can be difficult for families.  Some of the comments that were left below the article are simply unbelievable.  I have to state that some of these are excerpts from the full comment.  I didn’t want to bore you with the full rambling comments that really don’t make these people sound any less “jerkish.”  You like that word?  I just made it up…

There were 7 pages of comments, here are just a few:

 “I recommend driving for people with children that have autism. Why put your child through the horror and subject others to the discomfort. It is simply rude.”

“If your child, for whatever reason, cannot travel without tantrums, do not fly. Your child, no matter what the age or difficulty, is not my problem. I hate these parents who think that the fact that they had a child makes it so that they can inflict that child on everyone else. Quit being so self-centered and control it.”

“If you cannot take the cramped quarters, noise, and rules you should not fly. You do not have a right to fly! Why should the other public, paying out the nose, be forced to put up with a mentally unstable kid.”

First of all, my child has flown before and he liked it.  It didn’t scare him or put him through any horror.  So, I really don’t feel like I am doing anything to hurt him by putting him on a plane.  Yes, people talking sometimes agitate him and some other sounds do bother him, and yes he MIGHT throw a tantrum. If he does, I will do my best to get it under control.  What people don’t understand is that when my child throws a "tantrum", or has a meltdown, there is no reasoning with him. There is no bribery, or “if you don’t stop that by the time I count to 5…” He doesn’t get that concept yet at this point in his life – he might later.  All he knows is that his senses are overloaded and he is MAD!  He can’t control it. When he’s in meltdown mode, it’s nearly impossible to distract him or calm him down.  It isn’t about being a spoiled brat or not being taught the right way to act.  We try our best to teach him these things – believe me.  
I’m just saying, sometimes people need to go places and I’m sorry if it might make you uncomfortable on the plane for a while.  Is it going to ruin your life?  Not likely.  What if my child had to travel a long distance, like some with autism frequently do, for a doctor or therapy appointment?  Should they not go because they might make someone on the plane uncomfortable?  I try to be considerate of other people as much as I can but, geez…

But wait, I saved the best quote for last.  This one is a gem:

“This article is a total waste.  Autism is a make-believe disease, created by the medical industry to sell more drugs & un-necessary procedures.”

REALLY DUDE?!  Are you serious?  Yep, the doctors made up that autism and we’re all fallin’ for it!   Thanks for clearing that up for me.  I guess since we now know that it’s all made up, we’ll wake up in the morning and all of our kids will be walking around totally "cured."  Also, for the record, my child has never had any “un-necessary procedures”  that I know of. But, thanks for your two cents.   Ok, I’m finished ranting.  Back to my calm centered self.  Aaaaahhhh…

What do YOU think?  Is it wrong for my family to fly?

Download Melissa's single "Pieces" at the links below. Half of all profits will go to the 
Autism Society of Acadiana

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  1. I am SHOCKED at some of those comments! People are crazy and so insensitive sometimes.

    I absolutely think you have every right to fly with your child anywhere in the world you want to go!

    Have you thought about noise-canceling headphones for Beckett? I read stark.raving.mad.mommy's blog and she used them for her son who has Asperger. You can read about it here: http://www.starkravingmadmommy.com/2011/09/trust.html

    Might be worth a shot?

  2. Thanks Blair! I know, people simply amaze me at times! Thanks for the blog tip! That's great! We have been trying to get Beckett to wear headphones. At first he wouldn't even keep them on, but now he'll wear them for several minutes before taking them off. That might save us! :)

  3. I don't remember if I read it in the comment section of that post, on her FB feed or if she did another post about the headphones, but a lot of people gave their two cents about which headphones worked best for their kids. A lot of moms were dealing with sensory issues as well and the child didn't like the feeling of the headphones on their head. A few had mentioned a pair that was lightweight enough to not set off sensory issues, but strong enough that they canceled out enough noise.

    I hope it helps and I will be praying for an easy flight and peace for you. Hopefully the anticipation will be the hardest part. :)