anxious time | 

Erin McGregor opens up about worries about air travel with son with autism

“Let’s go team autism.”

Erin McGregor with her son Harry

Clodagh MeaneySunday World

Erin McGregor has opened up about the worries she has about travelling with her son Harry (6).

The mother of two got teary-eyed as she confessed she was consumed with anxiety ahead of flying to Spain with Harry who is non-verbal and was previously diagnosed with sensory issues.

Erin, who is a sister of UFC fighter Conor McGregor, detailed her concerns in her Instagram stories.

“The anxiety is literally up to my neck,” she said.

“Myself and Harry are travelling today and I was thinking ‘I'm not going to come on I'm not going to ramble and tell everybody how I haven't slept because I'm thinking what if he falls asleep on the airplane and I have to get the stairs down?

"I have to carry the buggy and carry a sleeping baby? And who’s going to help me carry all the bags onto the trolley and then push the buggy out to meet my family?’”

“Who’s going to help me do all that? What happens if he has an absolute meltdown?” she continued.

Erin McGregor

“I couldn't get ice blocks for his pizza, I have to ring the doctor to get his prescription….if the noise of the airplane is too much and I don't have anywhere to run?”

Erin said that this is what people just don’t understand about having a child with special needs.

“I also know that when I talk about say the sensory diet, of how particular he is about food….Like if that food isn't the right brand, cooked at the right temperature, he just won't eat.”

“Like he just won't eat, the implications that has, the knock of effect, the cramps start, then the sensory gets really overloaded and he’s in severe pain and he can't tell us,” she explained.

“It literally takes us weeks to get him back around and his system going again.”

“To somebody else that might seem like ‘OMG she’s making a big deal out of pizza’, but I'm actually not. People say, ‘Oh he’s grand’ - and he is grand because I make sure he’s grand.”

The 41-year-old said she has to think ahead about every logistic when it comes to Harry.

“Every child with a special need is quite different you have to cater for your particular child and their needs,” she said.

“When I go out of the country or go anywhere where I don't have my safe place [where we] batten down the hatches, that's what me and Terry do.”

Erin explained that the stress can cause the couple to clash with one another.

“He’s really stressed because I’m going by myself. They're all the things people might not see.”

She pleaded with people to be kinder and more patient with parents at the airport and she asked her followers to be accommodating.

“I am going to meet the [special assistance team at the airport],” she explained, before bursting into tears.

“I still struggle with that and I have to be honest about that and they're my feelings and they're valid.”

Giving herself a pep talk, Erin shared: “Ok I had my little whinge now… I'm ok now… I'm going to have a great time, Harry’s going to be amazing on the airplane I just know it.”

“Let’s go team autism,” she added.

“I actually learned today the Spanish word for autism and I think of how far I've come.”

“Just in case, I don't know why I need to know it in Spanish - Autismo - just in case they start annoying me today going through security or something… taking his ear defenders off,” she explained.

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