by Eliana Wool, M.A., Psychological Services Pre-Doctoral Intern
Air travel can be an exciting, yet anxiety provoking experience. This may be particularly true for a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) because of factors connected to flying, including a change in routine, navigating unfamiliar environments and considerable sensory stimulation.
“Airplane travel presents many new sensory experiences including noisy environments, many visual distractions and new smells. The inner-ear disturbances that occur at take-off and landing can impact vestibular processing disrupting how a child interprets their own body’s movements, which can be very disorienting," comments Haley Bartz, an Occupational Therapist with the Integrated Pediatric Interventions program at Jewish Child & Family Services. "Fortunately, there are numerous ways that a family can help to make air travel a less stressful experience for their child.”