tv The Travel Show BBC News January 7, 2022 1:30am-2:01am GMT
child crying i'm amberand 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 non—verbal autistic — their names are alex and will. laughter 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're 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 0h, did he drop it or did he throw it? he dropped it. it's ok. crying. then when there are two autistic non—verbal children, the behaviours can be exponential. sometimes they play off of each other. it's alright, it's alright, it's ok. before the twins were born, we were just a family of four. and we had the two older brothers who kinda sorta 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, ortheir 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. 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 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're kind of nervous and excited about getting on a plane. ok, so let's do each... because they're autistic non—verbal, they function on about the level of an 18—month—old.
so they're 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 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'll 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�*s always gotta take care of one of the twins, another person has to take care of the other one, and then who's gonna 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 need to 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 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 gonna 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, wejust have to kind of keep them calm and soothe them as much as possible. �*cause 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. they're autistic, so they come with their own needs, you know? so we are 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 have 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 i a new thing that we haven't done before, so it's kind i ofjust like, challenge accepted, let's do it. i that's the fun for him is "let's do this, let's see if we can accomplish it." so it's just his personality, but... laughs, it's 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'll be ready for tomorrow.
cries 0k...let�*s get your hair all pretty. all handsome. cries we're gonna go on our trip! and you're gonna be so handsome. can you sit up for me? and you are going to be so handsome. he's so upset �*cause he wants to go get in the car. where are we going? are we going on a trip? cries. are you ready? 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 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. �*cause we�*re at the airport and we�*re pulling into the parking deck, so it�*s really real, we�*re gonna do it.
0k! frank sr, frankjr, stephen, alex, you and will. yay! look at the lens. got it? here, one more time, look at the lens. ready? it�*s kind of a healing time for ourfamily. it�*s redemptive. we can go on this trip together. the older boys have such a sweet dynamic with the little boys. 0k, 0k, thank you. so instead of patting them down, they put this little solution on them. cries. oh, oh, i�*m so sorry, i�*m so sorry! but two toddlers is difficult. well, when you add non—verbal autistic, itjust makes it exponential. i always feel this sense to, like, rush and get everything packed. we have plenty of time. so i kind of have to emotionally prepare myself. i�*m so relieved that 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 non—verbal autistic itjust makes it exponential. so it has taken us a long time to come to the point 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. what do you think about this fast plane? 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. naptime is a good time to fly. we like the idea of getting into a truck and driving the rest of the way to san antonio. it�*s about another two and a half hour 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 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 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. 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 bothered me because i just wanted my daughter to be able to play. so where would 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 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, eventually 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. 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 had special needs. | 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 acclimated him to it. ijust met danielle who has a five—year—old boy who is also non—verbal 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 i with his normal sleeping times. we found that out. yes. other people on the plane, sometimes, to get peoplel 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 mum 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! and off we go! 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 predict it 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, 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. normally to get them to have this much fun is kind of rare, | we have to do the little - things, make weird noises, i that's the only time they'll be. laughing and smiling this much. 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 at the theme parks, the theme parks were built for them. they welcomed them with open arms and let them enjoy themselves.
hello. well, it�*s going to be cold for another day or so, and after that, things will turn a little less cold, but there�*s a big low pressure out there in the atlantic. you can see the cold fronts sweeping across the uk. behind it, that speckled cloud, the shower clouds, some of them wintry, carried by a pretty cold current of air coming off the north atlantic. but i think come the weekend, this next low pressure — this is another one —
will come our way and will also warm things up a little bit, but until then, still the risk of snow and ice through the early hours and into friday, mostly but not exclusively northern parts of the uk. so, here�*s the weather map, the forecast early friday. you can see wintry showers across the pennines, the highlands, parts of northern ireland, too. temperatures close to freezing early on friday, so icy patches possible. again, mostly across the northern half of the uk and the south, it�*s just a little bit too mild. on the whole, not a bad day for many of us across eastern areas of the uk. out towards the west, we�*ll have those showers and a good old breeze at least for the first half of the day. then in the southwest, we�*ll see a spell of rain sweeping through during the afternoon, so cardiff and plymouth, possibly portsmouth, will be wet for a time on friday before it dries out. here�*s the next low pressure. that�*s the one that�*s actually moving through right now, but this is the next one on friday. and here�*s the weather front,
the cold front that moves through during the first half of saturday across the uk. rain and wind — a really unpleasant picture early in the day, but notice that it does tend to dry out at least somewhat second half of the day on saturday, although it could stay wet across eastern areas. you can see the temperatures back into double figures, so it�*s not going to be quite so cold, but the wind will make it feel pretty nippy. and then, sunday, actually we�*re in between weather systems — one out there in the north sea, this approaching. we�*re in between, so sunday isn�*t looking too bad at all. temperatures will be a little lower, between, say, 5—8 degrees for the most part, maybe a little bit milder in cornwall and devon. but on the whole, out of the two days, i think sunday is looking better. and thereafter, it really does turn just that little bit milder with temperatures perhaps reaching 13 degrees in some southern and southwestern areas. bye— bye.
welcome to bbc news. i�*m lewis vaughan jones. our top stories: # sweet land of liberty...# us politicians hold a vigil on the steps of the capitol building, to mark one year since the attack, asjoe biden blames donald trump for the riot. the former president of the united states of america has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election. russian soldiers arrive in kazakhstan to help crush anti—government protests — reports say security forces have taken control of central almaty. the clashes are taking place just a few hundred metres away from where i am standing now.