Wings for Autism

Wings for Autism

Today this article showed up in my newsfeed. It is a mom thanking JetBlue for the service they provided her son with autism before and during a flight. She liked that she was able to indicate his special needs and make a few specific remarks about those special needs when she booked online. Then when she called just to make sure everything was okay, she was offered assistance and silent boarding when they arrived at the airport. She selected silent boarding and indicated how much this helped her son get settled into the new environment and get his headphones on to cancel out the noise when his fellow travelers started boarding the plane. Additionally, extra care and patience were shown to them throughout the duration of the flight, as the staff were aware of his needs based on what she was able to share when she booked the flight. I thought many of these things were good and important to consider when traveling by plane with a person with special needs. I didn’t know some of these options were available and was excited to share them! This also made me think of a JetBlue program I had heard of awhile back called Wings for Autism. The Wings for Autism program was created to offer a safe environment for families to practice traveling with an autistic child, and be surrounded by others in similar situations. By getting comfortable with the airport and flight experience (without actually leaving the airport!), both parents and their children with special needs could gain the familiarity and confidence needed to fly for real when the...
Know Before You Go

Know Before You Go

I recently came across an article in Costco Connection. The name of the article (found here) was Making ‘Travel Accessible For Everyone’ with a picture of a person in a wheelchair. Since I’ve recently caught the travel bug, but worry about travelling with Chloe, this really grabbed my attention. The article talks about John Williams of wheelchairdestinations.com, his mission, and how he goes about it. I was thrilled to read that he previews tourist locations with the perspective and needs of wheelchair users in mind, then shares his findings on his website and with “Know Before You Go” videos. How cool is that! He focuses in the pacific northwest. We do have a couple trips planned in that area so I was thrilled! And it got me thinking we need more of this information for everywhere we want to go! In addition to Shannon’s awesome special needs travel tips shared here, I realized how nice it would be to truly know before we go anywhere exactly what to expect in regard to wheelchair accessibility and other features at destinations that will be good to know. For example, I didn’t find out that Disneyland has a special area just off Main Street where you can take your child to nap or change their diaper. They also sell quite a few supplies. I didn’t find out about this until the last day of our third trip there with Chloe. Boy do I wish I would have known about it sooner! There were many times a trip there to decompress and help her climb out of sensory overload would have saved the...
Special Needs Babywearing

Special Needs Babywearing

This is something that’s relatively new to me! Bear with me, we are all going to learn a little something new here! Last summer we decided that we wanted to start doing all kinds of fun things with our kids. They are a little older, almost all of them walk where you want them to (where you want them to is the kicker) and it’s time to start making memories! There is a place in one of the canyons not very far from me called the Fairy Forrest. People paint rocks and bring them to this little area in the woods a bit off the beaten path where they create a kid of fairy community. Fun! Then I recalled what I read, something about a dried creek bed? Not so dry some parts of the season? Might require some rock jumping or wading? Errr… wheelchair friendly? Not so much. Or what about a cave adventure! There is a cave a couple hours away that we went to with some of our friends back when we were dating. Shoot, that was AGES ago! How fun to take the boys into a cave where they can kind of skip along a marked path, looking at amazing things and learning a little on the way. Yay! But stairs… like a hundred stairs down into the dark earth. Oh my… no stroller in this area. Will my boys ever do any fun adventures again? I started to look into baby wearing, specifically for large children. I was not looking for a mega back pack from some outdoor retailer. (Besides, the weight limit on...
One Big Fat Mistake

One Big Fat Mistake

You know those times where you look back on a situation and think, ‘wow…. I went about that all wrong!’? Fairly recently I had one of these and it forced me to look back on life with my special needs daughter and realize that I really messed up. Not one big huge mistake but rather a series of events that, added together, made a big old mess. Obviously I don’t think I am alone in these mistakes so allow me to share my story in the hopes that you don’t have to do all the back-pedaling I am doing. After six years of being a special needs family my husband and I decided to go on a ‘second honeymoon’ trip out of the country. The challenge? We had five young children that we needed to find care for and one of them has special needs! We had aligned a close sister to take care of my special needs daughter, farmed out the other children and we thought we were all settled but then the whispers started. “They need to hire a nurse!” “How can she possibly care for Dylan’s needs!?” “Don’t they have to do medical procedures?” It was awkward. Yes, we do have to do a few things with Dylan that parents of typical children don’t have to do but we have been doing it for years, it’s second nature now and it’s easy! Her cares only take a few minutes three or four times a day. To hire a nurse to come over four times a day (at minimum, full time was implied) seemed a bit of...
The Parking Mobility App

The Parking Mobility App

A couple of years ago my husband and I discussed and decided to get disability license plates for our cars. Even though Dylan isn’t in a wheelchair, she was getting too heavy! Well, and because she is a big sister and needs to be carried, what about the baby? Most of the time we don’t need to use it. If we go out with just her, if it’s a short walk, if the parking lot is open, and, of course, when she isn’t with us. But… when we need it, we really need it, so it’s nice to have that available for us. Last night my husband and I took the kids to run errands, one of which was me running into a store to pick up a prescription. While my husband was waiting for me to come out (in a regular parking stall of course!) he noticed a car pull into an accessible parking stall, people pop out and go in the store, no license, no hang tag, no nothing. They shouldn’t have used that spot. When I came out he made the observation and I said… “There’s an app for that!” No, I am not kidding! If you see someone misusing the accessible parking spaces there is an app that will allow you to submit a couple pictures of the offending vehicle. The app uses GPS to identify your current location, and notifies your local law enforcement and they take things from there. You have done your part. Community service, check! While I was downloading the app (don’t wait until the last minute like I did…) we noticed two...