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December 22, 2008



Whiplash; that's a great way to describe it. Even though I knew what happened, I still cried reading this. Sadness that your family is separate during the holidays, admiration for the way you and J handled it, but mostly heartache for Isaac and his valiant, valiant efforts at conquering his fears and asking for what he truly needed. He is not a "small man" at all. Rather. A giant heart in a little boy's body.

Sending you love and wishes for a peaceful time together. xoxo

drama mama

Nice asking indeed.

I give you major props for listening, for trying, for getting out when the getting was good...

and my heart aches for both you and J.

It gets better. Promise.


I am so so sorry..but does it mean I could possibly see Isaac? pretty please


Delurking to say...Please please pleasepleaseplease make sure you're giving yourself the enormous kudos you deserve for handling this all with such aplomb. I was reading this and imagining myself in the same situation--remembering myself in similar situations--and just knew that I would have freaked out, made things worse. I've done it before. I did it on Sunday, in fact, in a lesser-scale-but-no-less-traumatic situation, for which I am still kicking myself.

I am so impressed with you. I hope you are impressed with both yourself and J. And, for his ability to know what he could and couldn't handle, with Isaac, too.


I cried too. For your family, for you, for J, for Isaac. But yes, a gift, this time with your sweet son. A chance to ease his mind, be in the moment, connect. You are an amazing mom, Susan. Isaac is so lucky to have you in his corner--never faltering, never judging, never once backing down.

Merry Christmas, my friend.


Indeed! [the whiplash!] the three hour check in for international flights doesn't help either plus the lure of escalators. My youngest spent those three hours [more or less] screaming 'plane fall down' which must have been great solace for other nervous passengers.

It also took quite a while to remove his fingers held vice like on the door frame of the plane on entry......I feel exhausted just thinking about it!
Best wishes


Yes. Whiplash.

I have been thinking about you in the past couple of days. You are a good mom. You looked at the best interests of your child and followed his direction.

Hugs to you. I know you probably need them. :)

Melissa P.

Many, many children with autism cannot and will not fly. For many issues, noise, too amny people, sensory overload, claustrophobic.
Neither of mine will still.
Glad you were able to take some trips before this began.


I found your story very moving. I have been enjoying your blog for some time. Your son reminds me a lot of my older son, who is in 1st grade, and some of what you have been going through is similar to what we have gone through.

It sounds like you did a fantastic job handling a very tough situation all around. And kudos to you for finding a silver lining. But I wanted to relay a story that the first ABA person who worked with our son told me. She was traveling with her 3 year-old daughter, who does not have autism, and because of the stress of traveling, the girl had a HUGE meltdown of epic proportions on the ramp to the airplane, and then again in the waiting area. She was screaming, kicking, sobbing, rolling on the floor, etc, I think ultimately for an hour. As my friend was doing her best to figure out what to do, this well-intentioned woman came up to her to voice kind words, and then said, "have you ever heard of a specialist called a behavioralist? They can really help with these kinds of challenges." To which my friend said, "Yes, I am one!" I liked this story because it reminded me that while autism poses specific challenges, lots of kids, even those not on the spectrum, can do very similar things, and even so-called experts are just as powerless to prevent it or make it all better.

As for airplanes and traveling, I did want to share a few things we've tried over the years, in case it can help for the future. First, on one of my plane trips years ago for work, I took a lot of digital pictures of the whole process (especially the bathrooms!) so that we could make a book and talk a lot about it. I also completely bribe my kids with special gifts on the plane (watching a new DVD, etc). It doesn't always work, and probably would not have worked in your situation, but it could help. Also, the Hiller Aviation Museum in San Carlos has part of a 747 that you can go in and sit down on the seats, and is also a fun place for kids.

The other comment I wanted to share (sorry for the long post, but I've been thinking a lot about your post), is that for my son with autism, his biggest challenges have shifted unexpectedly over time, also leading to some whiplash. But, the plus side of that is that there are some things that I can NEVER imagine doing with him successfully, and in 3 months, 6 months or a year, whatever anxiety he feels about that particular thing or situation is just gone, with no apparent explanation. Perhaps that will happen for your son with this challenge.

Thank you so much for your blog. I really enjoy reading it and admire you tremendously.


Late to this, but I wanted to say: you are awesome.


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