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Unread 25 Mar 19, 11:52 AM  
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#1
maznorm
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Join Date: Sep 09
For The First Time In Forever...Or Not?-Travel Day

TRAVEL DAY

I had a lovely nights sleep and woke up refreshed and ready for breakfast.

Norm came over at 6ish and we had a quick coffee before getting everybody up and ready for breakfast. He hadnt slept well as he kept hearing someone running around and thought it was Seren. He had sent me a few texts but I had reassured him that she was asleep. It had still kept him awake though. Phoenix came over about 6:30ish. Very early for him. Seren and Cyrus were already up. They are both early risers. We threw on clothes and went for breakfast. There was signs in the lobby that explained when the breakfast area might get busy and when it might be quieter. In an effort to keep Seren as relaxed as possible before the flight, we went at a quiet time. It was fairly quiet when we got there so that was good. We were seated near the buffet area. Norm got Seren some pancakes and some coffee for both of us. The boys went up to get something. Cyrus got porridge which is his absolute favourite food in the whole world. Phoenix decided to save his appetite for the cooked food to order. I had a croissant and a yoghurt.



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Seren started to get quite loud and shouty. I think she was just processing the plans for the day. She got louder and louder and eventually I took her to the room. She didnt want to go but I told her she could have her phone which calmed her down a little. We got back to the room and she screamed a bit and threw herself around. I let her get it out of her system so we could, hopefully, avoid any further issues today. Norm and the boys came back after finishing their breakfast and brought mine and Serens with them as well. We tucked in while they all got ready. Once we were all showered and ready to go, we headed to the airport. Seren was watching the video of Manchester Airport. They have a video that shows the terminal and what will happen, where you go etc. It is really helpful for children with autism as it helps them to be in control. She seemed to find it very helpful and asked lots of questions. Although, her questions were Whats Manchester? Wheres an airport? Can I play on my phone?. This is her way of processing what is happening, so I just answered her as best I could.

We decided not to follow the Sat Nav as it was showing us going back down the horrible, winding, country road again. We checked Google Maps on my phone and followed that instead. The airport was easy to find. From what we could tell, the Sat Nav had taken us almost to our hotel and then took us in a big circle around it to come back to it again. I can't imagine why!

We got to the airport and went to check in at the Meet & Greet Car Park. It registers your car licence and then opens the barrier. Or it should. We waited a while and nothing happened. We pressed the buzzer and no one answered. So Norm got out to ask one of the guys working in the car park. He let us in and showed us where to park. We parked up and handed over the keys. Im not sure what the parking at Manchester Airport is like normally. Or what Meet & Greet is like at other airports. Maybe I misunderstood, but when I booked it, it had seemed as though it was like valet parking. That was not what this was. It just seemed to be a car park that was nearer to the airport. I have to say I wasnt all that impressed but as I say, I dont know what normal parking is like there.

Anyway, we got out and headed to the terminal. Seren was taking pictures which I think was her way of controlling the situation. Having watched the autism guide, I knew to turn left when we went in and go to Special Assistance. They gave me a lanyard for Seren. This is to make airport staff aware that she has a hidden disability.



I was explaining every step of the airport process to Seren. Next we went to check in but didnt need to as I had printed the boarding passes already and didnt have any baggage.

We had paid for Fast Track at Security. When we got there, they told us we didnt need to have paid because the lanyard gets us through Fast Track anyway. Obviously, it was a bit late now but good to know for next time. The staff were very helpful and seemingly aware of autism as they could see me explaining everything to Seren. They also talked her through the process. When we got to the metal scanner things she got anxious. They said to go through but I asked if Norm could go through before Seren as she is a runner. They happily obliged even though it meant holding other passengers back. Norm went through and for the first time in the history of us travelling, he wasnt patted down. I warned Seren that the staff may need to touch her to make sure everything was ok. She is not great with being touched and would have let them at first but then pushed them away. Phoenix went through next and was patted down. Seren watched and I explained that it can seem scary but it is ok and wont upset Phoenix. Seren has real issues with Phoenix getting upset. If he cries, it causes a massive meltdown which can last for hours. he is quite a sensitive kid so even though hes 12, he does cry quite a bit. Hes also a bit of a wimp with pain as well, like me, so he has quite a hard time with Seren. If Phoenix gets upset for any reason, we generally have to evacuate Seren from the room before she sees. Otherwise, I have to keep her in my bedroom with me for hours while shes screams and thrashes about.

They waited until this was finished to let Seren through. She went through and they didnt need to pat her down. She was very concerned about her phone though so they put it through the X-ray machine before all of our other stuff and gave it back to her. Cyrus was next and went through fine. I was last and was fine too. I thanked the staff and we were on our way.

Side note:- The airport security scanners are now what Seren uses to measure scary things. So if something is scary, she needs to know if its a little bit scary like at the airport or a lot scary like the Bogeyman. Hahaha!

We went to Starbucks to get a coffee and a little nibble. Mainly to pass the time as Seren would happily sit in Starbucks. They didnt have any Pumpkin Spice so I had a Maple Latte instead which was scrumptious. The kids all had drinks too. Norm went to Boots to get the few bits we needed. Cyrus started to complain that he wanted to go with him. He wasnt long though and then he took Cyrus to the sweet shop next to Boots. When they were back I was going to go for a quick mooch around Boots, but Seren wanted to come with me. I took her to the sweet shop and missed out on my mooch. It just wasnt worth upsetting her for.





We sat there until the gate info came up. We finished our coffees and headed up. We got Priority Boarding with EasyJet due to Serens needs. However, when we turned the corner to head to the gate, it became apparent that we had a ways to walk. There were loads more shops and the sign said it was a 10 minute walk to the gate. It was very busy in this area so I told Seren to put her headphones on and put her hoodie up. We held hands and walked fast to the gate. We were there in plenty of time but it was very crowded which we had hoped to avoid. They let us through to the Priority Boarding section. We were also the last ones allowed through with bags, which was great because we really didnt want to have to wait in baggage claim on the other side.



A very helpful man let Seren have his seat which really helped because that made her a bit calmer in the crowd. We were called to go the plane within a few minutes. Seren took some pictures of the plane. When we had climbed the stairs, Seren showed the Flight Attendant her phone and said Show me where we are going. The Flight Attendant helped Seren find Paris on the map and talked her through it. Again, they were so willing to help, even though it slowed the rest of the passengers down. We thanked her and then went to find our seats. Phoenix sat at the window, then Seren in the middle, then me in the aisle. Cyrus in the window seat behind us, Norm in the middle seat, the aisle seat remained empty. We werent sure whether it was a good idea to have Phoenix with Seren, especially as his ears tend to bother him when flying. However, she wouldnt have been able to have a stranger sat near her. Cyrus winds her up all the time and could easily send her into a rage. This seemed to be the best option available.



We all got settled and the staff came over to check everything was ok. There was a child getting really upset about flying and while we were taxiing, a Flight Attendant consoled him and helped him calm down a bit. Poor thing was absolutely terrified and kept saying Let me get off. Please dont go. He had settled somewhat when it was time for the Flight Attendant to sit down. We watched out of the window as the plane took off. Cyrus was loving it! He had never been on a plane before and he was thrilled with it all. Now, Im not quite sure if it was emotions from finally being on a plane after so long or fear of take off (as I dont like take off at all) or just the fact that we had made it this far without any major issues with Seren, but I had tears running downs my face. Not sure what happened there but I quickly got over it and once we were in the air I was fine. We settled in and had a quick coffee and the kids had some Pringles and a drink. Whilst I was finishing my coffee we could see the Eiffel Tower from the window. We took some snaps but they werent very clear because of the cloud cover. Seren was quite chilled out during the flight and just did some drawing and played on her phone.



Phoenixs ears started bothering him a bit but he had moved over to sit with Norm in case that happened. Seren didnt notice and Phoenix didnt suffer too much or for very long. My ears were hurting too but it wasnt all that bad. We came in to land and Cyrus thought it was so much fun!

We waited until everyone else had got off before we did so we didnt get caught up in the hustle and bustle. Seren thanked the Flight Attendants as we left. They asked if she had enjoyed the flight. She said It was fine. which is actually high praise from Seren. We thanked them and went on to the airport. We went to Passport Control. I continued to explain what was happening to Seren and she handled it quite well.

We couldnt quite figure out where to meet our taxi driver. We used RS Transport. Just when we were about to ring them to find out where to go, the driver appeared with his little sign. Now, my name, Marie-Claire, is a French name. They still had it spelt wrong though, Maria Claire, which I thought was funny.

The driver sorted us all out and we were on our way to the hotel. We stayed at Vienna House Magic Circus. I had shown Seren videos and photos so she knew what to expect. In the lobby they had these weird turning top chairs that the kids all loved. They played on them while Norm got us checked in.



We had been given 2 rooms which for some reason I hadnt realised but was great because it gave us more space. They were adjoining so we had a door that we could keep open between them. The rooms were decorated in a circus theme and had a double bed and a bunkbed in each.



We had quite a nice view as well. It was quite a hot day so we turned up the A/C in both. The kids had all received a little gift bag which I thought was a nice touch.



We went back down to the hotel bar as we were all starving. I can't remember what we had and I didn't remember to take any photos. Oops sorry!

We decided to go to Disney Village to give Seren a bit of an intro to Disney without going into the parks.

We got the shuttle from the hotel. The kids were very impressed with the fact that it was a bendy bus!



We arrived at Disney Village which was fairly crowded but manageable. We had a little wander around and looked in some of the shops. We were purposely not actually doing anything but just taking in the atmosphere and giving Seren a chance to make sense of everything. We didnt stay for long and went back to the hotel.



The kids all wanted to play on the park so we went there for a bit and then went back to the room.



As the sun set on the day, I reflected on the build up to this trip and all the stress that went with it. Now we were here, it felt so good.


Edited at 11:57 AM.
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Unread 25 Mar 19, 08:57 PM  
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Animagus
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Wow! That was a pretty full on travel day. Glad you arrived safely and without any major upsets. Cabin crew are, ultimately, there for the safety of passengers so it was lovely they took time to make Seren feel comfortable and safe.
Hope you all had a good rest ready for the next days adventures. 😄
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Unread 26 Mar 19, 11:06 AM  
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maznorm
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Join Date: Sep 09
Originally Posted by Animagus View Post
Wow! That was a pretty full on travel day. Glad you arrived safely and without any major upsets. Cabin crew are, ultimately, there for the safety of passengers so it was lovely they took time to make Seren feel comfortable and safe.
Hope you all had a good rest ready for the next days adventures. 😄
It really was a full on day looking back on it. We probably should have skipped going to Disney Village but hey ho! Agreed about the cabin crew. They went above and beyond. Not just for Seren but for the upset child as well. I would highly recommend EasyJet to anyone.

Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment.
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Unread 8 May 19, 02:23 PM  
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kidsrus
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I read trip reports all the time but never one that seems so close to my family situation. As a mother to a child with autism I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. It actually made me a bit tearful what a lovely parent you are.

All that careful planning and supporting your family is incredibly hard work. Nice to read airport staff more aware of hidden disabilities now.


I can not wait to read the rest of your report. Thank you for sharing
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Edited at 02:26 PM.
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Unread 14 Jul 19, 10:00 AM  
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maznorm
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Originally Posted by kidsrus View Post
I read trip reports all the time but never one that seems so close to my family situation. As a mother to a child with autism I thoroughly enjoyed reading your story. It actually made me a bit tearful what a lovely parent you are.

All that careful planning and supporting your family is incredibly hard work. Nice to read airport staff more aware of hidden disabilities now.


I can not wait to read the rest of your report. Thank you for sharing
Thank you so much for your kind words. I am hoping to get this trippy finished soon. Weve had quite a rough time of it lately and this trip was a part of it. It has been quite difficult to look back on. I will get it finished though.
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