Travel is not a privilege

by Friday, September 28, 2018

How is the week treating you? For those of you with school children currently on holidays, my wish for you is that you’re coping. I’m willing you through with ’emotional Panadol’, via this Newsletter. For the rest of you, know that I’m always wishing you the best.

I wanted to share a conversation I had this week with the Mum of three children with Autism. “Yep, I got the hat trick!”, said Melinda Spencer, owner of the world’s biggest grin. We were at a ‘Meet the Author’ dinner for Liane Moriarty, whose “Nine Perfect Strangers” book we recommended last week (so good, just buy it).

Melinda stopped me in my tracks by revealing the challenges all people with special  needs go through in order to travel and by ‘special needs’ we refer to everyone from those with Autism to maybe someone who’s just had shoulder surgery. It varies. Her tips for websites to check out are invaluable and I just know there is one of you reading now who may be helped by these sites and indeed the extra tips I asked Melinda to put together for us.

Remember, travel is not a privilege, it’s something that should be, sorry, IS available to us all. However, some of us do need a little extra guidance.

Melinda reminded me once again, why we put so much energy into Journeys To Come. All our tips and travel stories are worthwhile and deserve an outlet to be shared.

Have a wonderful week Dear Traveller. Oh, and if you’re anywhere near Jamestown in South Australia, pop along to the Races on Saturday and The Jamestown Show to come and say “Hi” to me.

xxx

Melinda Spencer‘s Travel Tips: 

A holiday can be an exciting time for many but for others it presents significant challenges, even just to get there and begin. There are many options out there but they’re not publicly spoken about. This is just about beginning a holiday, particularly where you are flying, whether it be interstate or international. Everyone is different and everyone’s needs are different but some of the following tips may help many.

1.    Contact the airport you are leaving from directly. They may have supports in place for travellers with additional needs. This may involve a free tour of the airport to alleviate anxieties, social scripts, and managing the security. Simple things, such as taking off shoes, can be really overwhelming so it’s good to have prior warning.

2.    Finding a quiet space in an airport is difficult. It’s quieter in the airport lounges. There is always lots of food to try; free Wi-Fi; plus more comfortable chairs and the ability to spread out a bit more.

3.    Ask the airline if you can board the plane first. This helps you board the plane with dignity rather than everyone knowing who you are as you are pushed, prodded, made to wait while overhead lockers are filled, etc..

4.    Contact the airport at the destination and ask for support with navigating the airport and clearing customs. This is particularly helpful if you are going on another flight. We did this in Los Angelas airport which was so difficult to navigate without support, let alone trying to do it with autistic children. We were met by staff and guided through.

5.    Put electronic devices in clear, zip-lock bags as this helps alleviate heightened sensitivities to touch, and also OCD issues. It also makes going through customs much easier.

6.    Before leaving, consider creating a Powerpoint social story of the holiday, including photos of destinations, hotel rooms, and options to do whilst staying. This helps with preparation and managing anxieties.

Additional resources: 

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