Prior to being a Mam, I was in the Army and one of the things we were taught was the 7 P’s:
It’s funny how this plays a huge part in parenting an Autistic Child. It makes sense. Not just when travelling but in daily life. But I’m going to show you how we use the 7 Ps for travelling abroad with an autistic child!
HOW TO USE 7P’S FOR TRAVELLING ABROAD
Before choosing a holiday you need to do lots of research & planning. Find a place that caters for your child’s needs. Everyone is different but for us, we need to find somewhere that is self-catering with a full kitchen and access to English Foods. Somewhere quiet with not too much going on but close enough to quiet bars and restaurants with wifi. We like to have wifi access at all times, be near the beach and have a pool. We also need to have air conditioning. A McDonalds is also a bonus.
Once you’ve chosen your destination tell your child, show them pictures. You could use social stories or make your own brochure. We make our own brochure. We use pictures from the internet and try and include everything we are planning on doing while we are away. Plan from the moment we leave the house to go to the airport hotel and turn it into a little visual story, right up until we have got home. You could split the outward and return journey.
Contact the airport you are flying from and ask for disabled assistance. This means you can get through check-in & departures quicker and you can get onto the plane first or last depending on what would be more beneficial to your child. You also get access to disabled areas in the airport which is great for some quiet time away from the hustle and bustle. If you live close to an airport some will even let you go and have a dry run in preparation. A book like Suzie Goes on an Aeroplane could also be helpful.
Think carefully about packing, do you need pull-ups or a plastic sheet. What medication do you need to pack? Do you need a doctors note for it? Test suncream and take one that your child can tolerate. Make sure everything is fully charged and carry a charger in your hand luggage just in case … flights are often delayed. Take some extra toys, paper, pens just in case. We like to take a bag of sensory fun stuff that she hasn’t seen for a while or that is new to keep her engaged when needed. Pack sunglasses in your hand luggage as this can be a huge sensory issue when you arrive in a hot country.
Preventing Piss Poor performance
Let’s be honest something is always going to happen, you can’t prevent all meltdowns (how cool would that be though!). But if you’ve planned and prepared for as many eventualities as you can then you’ll be off to a good start. When the shit hits the fan and something goes wrong don’t make a big deal out of it. You’re on holiday, draw a line under it and move on. Who knows you may have a great time … 😉