Thursday, June 17, 2010

Traveling with FASD...Let Us Pray!

As we all know, tomorrow morning Dani takes a jet plane to Southern California by way of Oakland then down to Burbank.  Then when she comes home she leaves Burbank, stops in Vegas for a two hour layover.  TWO HOUR LAYOVER...DO YOU REALIZE HOW MUCH FEAR THAT PUTS INTO MY HEART AND SOUL?  I AM SO NERVOUS I AM DRIVING MY WHOLE FAMILY NUTS! Anyway, Dani and I went through her suitecase day before yesterday and by the time I got things pulled out, her suitecase literally lost probably 5-10lbs.  Kids with FASD have no conception of what is right and wrong to pack, they just "feel a need, fill that need".  So not only did she pack her clothes (good job Dani) she had packed two rolls of duct tape, a knee brace, wrist brace, and an ace bandage.  Then there was a huge jewelery box with key for her bracelets she is making.  I just had to smile because to her that was so important, but it was a learning lesson too.  We got things fixed and ready to go.

Now the fear part.  I don't worry about her traveling there because she just stops in Oakland, doesn't get off the plane and continues to Burbank.  The way home?  So this is what I have done.  When your kids travel alone call the airline and have them make a note on the passenger list, with their name.  They have special categories for disabilities or disabled passengers.  For Dani it was "developmentally delayed". That gives the crew a heads-up about my daughter.  Second, the child does not go to the plane alone.  As long as the parent and the other person on the other end of the trip, has a copy of the itinerary, along with a valid form of ID, that person can go to the plane.  But when you go to the check-in to pick up or drop off, strongly mention your child has special needs.  That is how Dani is being picked up in Burbank.  My daughter has her itinerary and id, but only one person is allowed back there.

So in Vegas, this is what I have planned.  As soon as Dani gets off the plane she is to turn on her phone.  I have a printed out map of the terminal that houses SouthWest Airlines.  I will already know ahead of time what gate she will be at.  And I will be able to guide her to where she is to go.  I already also know where the eating places are, restrooms, etc so even though I am up here in Utah, I will still be connected.  Second plan...I have written out a brief note that Dani can hand to any airline personnel that briefly explaines who I am, that my daughter is FASD and she needs help finding her gate and if that person can't help at least guide her as best as possible.  But I am hoping more for the phone call.  Thank God for cell phones.  She has a preloaded debit card that is all her own, case in her wallet, some hiding for the trip back and some for when she gets there.  Then there is the emergency medical treatment card, that's all done and since my husband and I will be in the mountains, my oldest daughter will be our representative until we are located. 

So I think I've got all the bases covered.  My sweet husband asked if I will be able to relax once she is on the plane and my response?   Hell yes!  That is until the time comes when she leaves, which we will be on our way home from camping.  Wish us luck!

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