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tv   The Travel Show  BBC News  January 4, 2022 2:30pm-3:01pm GMT

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child crying i'm amber and my husband is frank. we live outside of birmingham, alabama. we have four beautiful boys — frankie who is 17, stephen who is m, and then we have a set of boy twins who are four years old, and they are nonverbal autistic — their names are alex and will.
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we are the ellis family. my husband and i have known each other since grade school. we were friends the whole time. we dated in high school and married in college and this is our 20th wedding anniversary. because we have some issues with the boys, we have not been on a trip in a really long time. they are not very effective at communication, so it takes a lot of intuition to figure out what they need. we have a lot of meltdowns. 0h, did he throw it? child cries did he drop it or did he throw it? he dropped it. it's ok. when there are two autistic nonverbal children, the behaviours can be exponential. sometimes they play off of each other. it's all right, it's all right, it's ok. before the twins were born, we were just a family of four.
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and we had the two older brothers who kind of sort of got along, but not really. after the twins came, the dynamic changed to this really sweet, caretaking dynamic. and especially as the twins got older and they stopped developing, or their development was very slow, we all kind of began to understand that the twins were going to need a lot more. # twinkle twinkle little star...# for a long time, we didn't have any support. we didn't really talk about the twins, pretty much only my closest friends knew that the twins were special needs. and for a long time, i thought i could fix them, that it was just a developmental delay, that i could give them the right supplement or the right food or the right therapy and they would catch up.
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but over the course of maybe the last year or so, i began to realise, and i think my husband and i began to realise that this is who they are. and it's not something that you can fix, it's how they're wired. we began to come to terms with their special needs, their autism. they're so precious, even though they may be different — different, not less. they're just different, that's all. and people need to see the story, people need to know that you can make it work. we can make it work. we started talking about taking a trip, how should we do it, this is our 20th anniversary. we have come through so much
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as a family that we wanted to go as a family, and just enjoy each other. so, we felt like it was time to go on a trip! it's taken us a long time to come to the point where we were ready. we've never flown with the twins before so we are kind of nervous and excited about getting on a plane. ok, so let's do each... because they're autistic nonverbal, they function on about the level of an 18—month—old. so they are a lot of work. the way our schedules, our work schedules and the school schedules for the kids work together, there's not a whole lot of days every month where we're all together at the same time. we have little bits, an hour or two here at the end of the day, if they've not fallen asleep already, but whole days don't happen very often for us. a few years ago, we went
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to the beach for a couple of days together, but they were very small. to break routine for an autistic child is...can be disastrous. so this gives us an opportunity to break routine only for a little while and try it, and see how the boys cope in a different environment, and still have some of their comfortable surroundings — they will have us and the older boys and some of their familiar objects, but be in a different place, and see if we can start taking longer trips. 0k, how are we going to do an aeroplane? somebody has always got to take care of one of the twins, another person has to take care of the other one, and then who is going to take care of all of the things we take with us? what do we need to take, what snacks are going to have? do we take the blankies, do we take toys, do we take the ipad, things to keep them entertained? we actually got in touch with the airline that we were going to use and talked to a co—ordinator who let us have a trial run through the airport, which was phenomenal. it was the most fabulous idea anyone
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has ever come up with. i had been pretty fearful, but after that day, i felt much better and i thought, i think we can do this. we can make it work, we can get on a plane and go on a trip. it's gonna be stressful and there's going to be meltdowns... cries hey, hey! it's ok! if they melt down, how do we deal with the people around us, how do we let them know that it's really 0k, and that we're actually ok with meltdowns, we just have to keep them calm and soothe them as much as possible. because you worry about the people around you, that you're offending people or...and you worry about being judged. look how handsome you are! just to know that somebody understands is so helpful, and you all of a sudden don't feel so crazy.
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they're autistic, so they come with their own needs, you know? so we're going to take the whole family, for the first time, to a special park called wonderland in san antonio, texas. it's a special needs park and they have lots of fun things for specifically special needs children, very wheelchair accessible. there's a lot of different ways it could go, you know, with their very strict routines that they happen to have, going outside of that a little bit will stress them a little bit, and you just kind of have to roll with it, so... i'm looking forward to it primarily because it's a new thing - that we haven't done before, so it's kind of like, _ challenge accepted, let's do it.
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it is the fun for him is "let's do this, let's see if we can accomplish it." so it'sjust his personality, but...it is a lot of fun! i've played too many strategy games. everything is pretty ready, we'lljust have a nice, quiet evening, finishing up any last details, and then we will be ready for tomorrow. cries 0k...let�*s get your hair all pretty. all handsome. cries we are going to go on our trip! and you're gonna be so handsome. can you sit up for me? you are going to be so handsome. he is so upset because he wants to go get in the car. where are we going? are we going on a trip? are you ready?
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0k. all ready! i have the food, the boys�* clothes, our clothes, ipads, the blankies, we have the wagon. i think that's everything. i think that's everything! ok, let's go. so we went outside to load the car and pull up to the main porch, and i couldn't crank the car, it wouldn't crank. told the husband, can you come and look at the car and try to fix it? and of course he worked his magic and got the car running again. i was so nervous up until this point, but we've prepared so much, and we've already seen a little bit of meltdown because he's actually wanting to go, so i think it's gonna be really good. everything went fairly well, and we allowed enough time for any problems that might have popped up, like the car. so we are still running very early schedule, we'll get to the airport probably
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at about two hours before we board the plane. so, we are going to fly out of birmingham and fly to houston. the flight from birmingham to houston is a relatively short flight, it's only two hours. from there, we will rent a truck or some kind of vehicle, and drive the rest of the way to san antonio. ok, i might be getting a little nervous now. we are at the airport and we're pulling into the parking deck, so it's really real, we're going to do it. 0k! frank sr, frankjr, stephen, alex, you and will. yay! look at that lens. got it? one more time, look at the lens. ready? it's kind of a healing time for ourfamily. we can go on this trip together. the older boys have such a sweet dynamic with the little boys. 0k, 0k, thank you. instead of patting them down, they put this little solution on them.
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cries i am so sorry, i am so sorry! but two toddlers is difficult. when you add nonverbal autistic, itjust makes it exponential. i always feel this sense to rush and get everything packed. we have plenty of time. i kind of have to emotionally prepare myself. i'm so relieved that part is over! now let's just get to the gate. you kind of carry that anxiety in the back of your mind of, how is it going to go? just kind of be ready to roll with the punches, whatever happens, just be ready for anything. travelling for toddlers is difficult. and two toddlers can be really difficult. when you add nonverbal autistic it just makes it exponential. so it has taken us a long time to come to the point
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where we were ready. will has noise—cancelling headphones, he has strong sensory issues with hearing. you can tell it's painful. we're probably going to have a meltdown or two. we might have some vomit, we know it might happen. but the flight from birmingham to houston is a relatively short flight, it's only two hours. and the boys do like car travel. ok, now we're on the fast part. we're about to go fast. up into the air. are you ready? let's do it. whatever happens, just be ready for anything, and just kind of be ready to roll with the punches.
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ok, it's going to be a little bumpy. you're doing so good. things are going really well. one boy is asleep and the other is almost asleep. nap time is a good time to fly. we like the idea of getting into a trip and driving the rest of the way to san antonio.
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it's about another two and a half hours�* drive, and then we'll go to the park. did you sleep with big brother? you did? what did you think? is it time to go play? it is. time to get some clothes on. he's going to grab my hand and try to walk us out the front door. it's time to go, alex is ready. the worst part is over. the anxiety i was experiencing was mostly about the flight. woke up this morning, ready to prepare for the park. then we'll hop in the car and go. he knows we're going somewhere fun. we're headed to morgan's wonderland, which is a theme park
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in san antonio, texas, for special needs children. lots of fun things for children of all cognitive levels to experience. morgan's wonderland came about when the founder, gordon hartman, sold his construction company and was able to devote all of his time to building this park for his daughter. she was developmentally delayed. and he made this wonderful playground in her honour and for her, and opened it up to the world. this beautiful park with a carousel, a ferris wheel, train, with sensory fun things and everything that small children and big kids alike would love to come and have fun. it was almost as if it was built for us. so where do you all
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recommend we go first? do you like it? oh, my goodness. what do you think? alex is in his happy place because he loves trains so much. we will probably ride the train at least five times today.
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so tell us more about the park and how you came to build morgan's wonderland. well, actually, it occurred many years ago when maggie, my wife, morgan and i were on a trip. and morgan wanted to go swimming. morgan and ijumped in and we were having fun, just splashing around in the water. there were three other kids at the other end of the pool, two of them were throwing a ball back and forth. she wasn't able to verbally communicate and say, hey, i want to play, can ijoin in with you guys? so she hit the ball. so they quickly grabbed the ball and got out of the pool because it wasn't a normal way of saying, hey, i want to play. and the look on morgan's face was, dad, i don't understand, ijust wanted to play. and it saddened me because ijust wanted my daughter to be able to play. so where could we go? we couldn't take her to a water park because of certain circumstances of hers, and talking to others, we found the same situation. so how do we develop a place
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where those who have special needs and those who don't can all come together and play in a fully inclusive environment? and it was those discussions, those chit—chats, those meetings, they turned into what we now have here today at morgan's wonderland. that is so amazing. and since then, people from all over the united states and literally all over the world make special trips to come here. in an environment that is just different than any other environment in the world. right. whoa, alex, look! what do you think? this is amazing. alex really likes, you know, ipads and things like that that he can manipulate. so when he came into this room, there's not a lot of extra noise but there's a lot of things he can touch.
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you did it! i'm so proud of you. we started travelling with him when he was six months old. i before we really knew he was autistic. - so he's very used to it. so by the time we did . have a diagnosis he was so used to travelling. so you just accommodated him to it. ijust met danielle who has a five—year—old boy who is also nonverbal autistic. we had a really fun time catching up. my new friend, we just friended each other on facebook. it was lovely to talk to her, so many similarities, how do you do this? it is better if you try to align the flights with his - normal sleeping times. we found that out. yes. other people on the plane, sometimes, to get peoplel
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who are less understanding... yeah, i was pretty worried about that. but it is pretty rare, i would say. it's great to find a community, in this setting, where we can talk and make new friends. so, we ran into a mother here, we got to talking and we kind of both had autistic children, she said there was another place really close by that we ought to check out. so i think we're going to head on over now and check that out and see how our kids like it. hold on! i had a lot of fears going into this trip. we have a special needs child, and you can't predict their behaviour, and you especially can't predicted in public around other people. and it didn't happen. that park was made for children like them. so we felt safe. that's one thing we really have trouble with sometimes,
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we don't really feel safe taking them to the normal places where regular children are. to be honest, they are having a lot more fun than i would've thought. i normally to get them to have this much fun is kind of rare, - we have to do the little things, - make weird noises, that's the only time they'll be laughing and smiling this much. i but this whole place has that effect. - i was literally terrified that we would get into a situation where they'd be melting down, lots of tears, really loud, a complete emotional breakdown for the world to see. but it didn't happen, everything was much more calm than i thought it would be. they slept on the plane, they had a lot of fun on the theme parks, theme parks were built for them. they welcomed them with open arms and let them enjoy themselves.
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hello.
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across almost all of the uk now it at last feels like january, although with some strong winds and heavy snow showers, as you can just about see from the view in aberdeen airport, it is coming with a few problems. especially north of scotland, severe gales are going to continue through the rest of today, snow showers packing their way in, another five centimetres or more of snow in some areas. that cold air feeding south with further snow flurries in northern ireland, parts of wales and the south—west, any rain in the south and east gradually clearing away, but as we go into the evening, what a difference to what some of you went to work in. these are the temperatures at six o'clock. you have got to factor in the wind. 8—9c this morning for the morning commute in the south—east corner, but for the journey home it is going to feel like —i but feeling even colder than that with the strongest of the winds in northern parts of scotland. the snow showers continue to pack in. the wind will abate a little bit as we go through into tonight, some further snow flurries out to the west of the country. a risk of ice in places, as temperatures widely fall to freezing or below to take us
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into tomorrow morning. the strength of the wind stops it from falling too much lower than that but the wind won't be as strong tomorrow. we will still have a couple of snow flurries in the north of scotland, one or two sleet and snow flurries in northern ireland, wales, towards the south—west, and a greater chance of a few rain showers along the east coast of england but for the vast majority of tomorrow, it is going to be dry, sunny and cold. not as windy, though, so not with the same wind—chill. with lighter winds and clear skies to take us into wednesday night, thursday morning is going to be much colder. it could be as low as between —6 and —9 in a few areas, under this ridge of high pressure, but that will eventually give way on thursday with the weather front pushing in to the cold air, primarily turning to snow over the higher ground, even low levels in scotland. the high ground of wales, northern ireland, as well, getting a covering of snow in places. turning to rain as the weather front pushes its way eastward through the day, never quite reaching parts of east anglia and the south east until late in the day. some sunny spells and heavy showers
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developing in the west later on and even though temperatures lift temporarily, by the end of the afternoon it feels rather cooler, especially in eastern areas. a colder night to take us into friday. friday back to sunshine and showers, the showers wintry in the north and west, some heavy with hail and thunder, but for many southern and eastern areas it will stay dry. cold, before some milder air returns on saturday. goodbye for now.
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this is bbc news broadacsting to viewers in the uk and around the world. i'm ben brown, our top stories: prince andrew's lawyers prepare to ask a us court to dismiss a civil sexual assault case brought by virginia giuffre. pupils across the uk head back to school this week amid concerns about covid—related staff shortages. it's an ever shrinking supply situation. we need to have high quality, professional teachers in front of children to give them an excellent education, and they aren't out there. covid is causing problems for schooling around the world, including in the united states which has set a record for surpassing one million daily covid infections.

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