Autism: making flying easier

By | Category: Travel news

AerLingusLast year was a year when airports and airlines thought more about how to be of assistance to intellectually disabled passengers. Addition training of airport and airline staff as well as the issuing of wristbands identified people who might have required additional assistance. One airline went a little further.

Aer Lingus has launched online visual guides to help people with autism and similar conditions prepare for air travel which is a good deal more than most airlines issue. Usually there are just a few lines in the “assistance” section of the website

Created in partnership with the Philadelphia based, Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University, the guides are intended to ease anxieties around flying for individuals with autism. The guides contain a series of slides that walk the viewer through all the steps involved in preparing for and experiencing air travel.

The guides are divided into three parts: pre-flight, on board, and post-flight. Aer Lingus recommends going through the guides prior to travelling  and it gives parents and caregivers unprecedented access to visuals that are not normally available given today’s security standards.

The founder of Irish autism charity As I Am, Adam Harris, welcomed the launch of the visual guides saying,  “Airports and airplanes can be stressful environments for everybody but especially for individuals with autism and any tools which support those with autism in preparing for travel should be warmly welcomed. In order for people with autism to be meaningfully included in society, it is essential that all aspects of the community take steps to ensure accessibility.”

Although these guides were developed with a particular need in mind, these guides are useful for anyone flying who has niggles, fears or a dislike of air travel in helping to explain what happens. Regardless of which airline you might be flying with, anyone with qualms will find the guides relevant.

The guides can be accessed by clicking here or going to  www.aerlingus.com/travel-information/travelling-with-children/travelling-with-an-asd-child/

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