Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Flying with Autism

In just a few more days, my mother and I are flying to California with Diana. Diana's never flown, never been in an airport, never been to California. We're visiting my brother and sister-in-law, and this is actually the third time we've tried to do it. The first two times, the trip had to be cancelled and rescheduled. Here's hoping the third time's a charm!

I've nearly convinced myself that it will all be fine. She's good on long car trips, never complaining. She's surprisingly well-behaved in crowded situations. However, she is not patient. I really hope the novelty of the airport and her curiosity will eat up the time spent waiting for the flight. I have books for her about flying that we will read as well as bring along, and I have a present I'll give her on the way to the airport: more of her coveted Groovy Girls dolls. (If you're a parent and haven't discovered these terrific cloth dolls, check the link - they really are wonderful dolls.) I'll have plenty of snacks. It's a non-stop flight, so she's going to be hungry. I think I've covered everything I can.

Once we get there, she will find that we're staying steps from the ocean, and the condo has a pool. The kid adores water; interesting for her being a Fire sign and all. (Though Eastern astrology makes her a water sign. Hm...) My fabulous sis-in-law used to teach first grade and is wonderful with children. She's so excited that we're coming, and I know she will be wonderful with Diana, if Diana will let her. She hasn't seen Krista in a long time, and has a tendency to ignore people she doesn't know - they just don't even show up on her radar. We're going to visit Birch Aquarium (we're members of the Shedd, it's one of her favorite places), build sandcastles, and splash in the pool.

We were supposed to go back in May, and Diana's teacher and speech therapist at school did a simple travelog for her to write in, in addition to the homework we were going to do since she was missing a week of school. I have the travelog still, even though we didn't go, and I think it will be a very interesting thing to have her write what we did, and choose from my pictures to paste in it. She's got quite a good brain in her head, and when she shares what's in it, it is often astonishing.

I am very much looking forward to this trip. I adore my sis-in-law (my brother's a doofus, as brothers often are), and traveling with Mom is fun. I don't want to drug my child, even with Benedryl, and the more I consider it, the less I like it. A few years ago, we drove to Virginia for a wedding. She was stuck in the car for hours, much longer than we will be in the airplane, and never once complained. Not once. Why would flying be any different? (Other than the noisy airport, the crowded plane, the popping ears....) I really want this to be a good trip. It will let us consider more vacations in the future - though with the price of gas and its effect on air travel, perhaps not. We shall see...

No comments: