“First airport, first plane, first hotel.” This is one of my little sister Catheryn’s favorite sayings because she associates it with going on vacation. My family used to tell Catheryn this social story when we were going through an airport so she would know what would be happening throughout the day.
Fast forward about ten years later, Catheryn knows what to expect when it comes to flying and how to get through the airport. She knows that first you get your boarding pass, and then you go through the metal detector in security before you can go on to your gate and board the plane. However on a recent trip to Dubai, the security step was a little different for Catheryn. Security was tougher in Dubai Airport than in most airports we have flown through with most passengers being subject to pat-downs and extra questioning. Catheryn had set the metal detector off twice and needed to get pat down. This would be new for her, and we didn’t know how she would react because she does not like to get touched by anyone.
“I don’t know how she will handle this because she has special needs.” My mom explained to the security guard. Catheryn was a little confused about what was going on and was looking at everyone so she could figure out what to do. The guard seemed to notice Catheryn’s confusion, asked my mom for Catheryn’s name, got down to her level to make her feel better, and smiled.
The guard said a few words to Catheryn quietly through the pat down, using her name and did not resist when Catheryn was pushingthe guard’s hands away. Soon, we were allowed to go on our way and wait at the gate to board the plane. These small gestures that the guard went out of her way to do made Catheryn more comfortable and meant so much to us. On the other side of the world, we received not strange looks, but an equal treatment.
“First airport, first plane, first hotel?” Catheryn asked as reassurance that the rest of her expected routine was not going to be any different. We confirmed this, knowing that the social story was going to be the same.
About the author:
Victoria Priest is a part time web marketing assistant at KenCrest and a full time marketing student at Saint Joseph’s University. In her free time, she loves to travel and have a good time with her sister.