Ever since I was little we have been traveling. From New York, to Hawaii, and from Big Bear to Palm Springs. You could say that I’ve been almost all over.
Traveling with an Autistic sibling can be difficult. I learned this the hard way.
My Experience with flying an Autistic sibling:
One day we were boarding on a plane to go see a school my sibling would soon attend. While picking our seats we decided on a middle row. My sibling following behind, was trying to get his bag into the overhead compartment.
A lady behind him, and a line of other people were mad that my sibling was taking so long, and that my sibling would not let her pass. His bag being very heavy didn’t help the situation.
The lady looked at my mom and me, and gave us a sign and a wave of anger.
It was obvious that she was mad, but if only she had known he was on the spectrum.
People forget in the midst of chaos that there are people with more problems and a different understanding of things than us. It is hard to see that however because they look, walk and talk (most of the time) like a normal person would.
I just wish I could have told that lady to be patient and wait. She was going to get to her destination it’s not like she couldn’t wait for him to put his bag up and to take a seat.
Soon after we took our seats followed by the two of us bumping arms the whole time. When traveling on a plane with an autistic sibling I recommend being respectful of their space. While the seat spaces are small, its important to not make them feel claustrophobic. Let them take their time when loading but also remind them that there are other people, too. Encourage them to bring something entertaining for the traveling part such as a book or music so they are occupied.
Road Trip Time:
I personally have tried to be generous when traveling by car with an Autistic sibling. Being in a car for a long time for them, and you may and will be stressful.
If you can and are willing to, try to stop for a snack or a stretch break. Many times we have had to stop for numerous reasons and almost always my sibling would get out and stretch.
The morning of or right before you leave for a big trip you’re gonna want some food in you. I have learned this the hard way when I only had a donut and an ice tea before a 3 hour drive. My sibling was smarter and ordered two pastries.
Sitting in the front seat he was giving us directions to our destination. However they weren’t so good. He was telling us where to go but would say, “I don’t know..no not here…yes…sure.” This annoyed the cr*p out of my mom and me. While he thought it was funny to him, it wasn’t to us.
While it is important for people with Autism to know they can do things, remind them that you are trying to get to your destination safely. If you experienced what I have let them know when you get to your destination that what they did was not funny to you or the rest of your party.