Not everybody is able to travel abroad so Step 3 will cover travelling within your country. Steps 1 and 2 still apply but you won’t be as restricted with your toolkit as you are when travelling by plane.
Here are my recommendations, for the three main modes of transport, to ensure a comfortable journey.
USE YOUR VOICE*. Be loud, be clear, let people know you are here. I am often told that those with additional needs are advised to avoid rush hour but this is not always possible.
In London, W (who hates trains and has a 2 train per journey limit before flipping out) had therapy sessions early in the morning and the only way to get there was public transport, through some of London’s busiest stations with intense rush hour experiences that I found suffocating.
ASD coupled with a neurodisability that affects balance and coordination is not an ideal combination on a moving train at the best of times, I often have to ask for other commuters to give up their seats for his safety and the safety of others around him.
KNOW YOUR RIGHTS. If you’re a wheelchair user in the UK you do have priority over buggies and any suitcases that may be using the wheelchair designated space.
If you need a seat, don’t be afraid to ask and use your voice* (see above).
This is probably the most difficult mode of transport for me personally. As a single parent I’m usually the only adult in the car and of course the one that’s driving.
I can’t employ distraction techniques as easily as I can on the bus or train. I can’t safely pick up a crayon or unstick stuck Lego pieces. My ‘toolkit’ needs to be simple and accessible with minimal involvement on my part. This is where tablets and snacks come in handy! You may need to stop off at service stations often. Whatever you need to do, make sure it’s a safe option.
Top Tip: Whenever using public transport check what facilities and accessibility services there are available.
*it can be daunting to use your voice. TfL have a ‘please offer me a seat’ badge available for those with hidden disabilities. Check if your local area has a similar scheme.