The trip to the Autism conference in New Orleans was going to be outstanding.

Jonathan was about 8 years old and was to be signing the Little Rainman book.

There was one obstacle to overcome in order to make this event happen.

Jonathan had a fear of flying.

Given his sensory sensitivities I figured his fear was related to the confinement of the aircraft cabin itself and the close seating arrangements as a consequence of a cramped cabin area.

At the time, driving was not an option and we just had to get to that conference.

What was the solution?

Before I could get him on the plane, we had to overcome his fear of flying either through drugs or social stories. Based on my guesstimate that the fear revolved around the confinement issue, I wrote a social story explaining how Jonathan would go to the airport, get on the plane and feel different sensations while going up.

After he read the story, he said “But mom, what if the plane blows up and I have to parachute down?”


My social story just uncovered Jonathan’s real fear of flying in a round-a-bout way.

I quickly edited the story, realizing his real fear, and added “Before I get on the plane Mom and I go through a special security machine where they x-ray both of us and our bags. This makes sure there are no concealed weapons or dangerous things on board. Only safe, good people will be flying on this plane.”

After that, he had no problem getting on board.

What unique fears has your special needs child had to endure?

How did you overcome an irrational fear of a special needs person?

Share your story with me now, leave a comment below.

As always, I look forward to hearing from you.

Karen Simmons
Mother, Wife, Author, Founder & CEO of

P.S. Try these effective tips, strategies, and tools to help understand and cope with fears of special needs persons.

To download a video presentation that will help you understand the nature of and simple solutions to fears of special needs persons, click this link: