This organization offers airport practice sessions for families and those with special needs

Oct 20, 2019

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Here’s something more airports should do: Host a day when families, and anyone else that may need extra assistance, can take advantage of a helpful day-of-travel practice session. That’s what the Wings for All program, under the auspices of The Arc, hosted on Oct. 19 at the Dane County Regional Airport (MSN) in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Arc is a group whose mission is, “Promoting and protecting the human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and actively supporting their full inclusion and participation in the community throughout their lifetimes.”

The group’s Wings for All and Wings for Autism programs help make travel more accessible for all sorts of people, especially those with autism or other conditions who may experience barriers when it comes to the processes involved with hitting the road.

A travel day can be stressful for anyone and is packed with often overwhelming stimuli, from crowds and TSA security screening to bright lights and gate changes. It can be a lot to handle. Sometimes, individuals and families decide that the unknown variables of travel make it impossible and they never schedule trips to see friends and families or go on vacation.

Wings for All was designed to change that sentiment and make air travel accessible for everyone.

What is Wings for All?

The Wings for All and Wings for Autism programs are meant for both families and aviation professionals. For families and individuals, it’s an airport “rehearsal” of sorts with the opportunity to go through the actual processes to check-in, receive a boarding pass, go through a TSA security checkpoint, wait in a boarding area and board an actual aircraft. (The aircraft doesn’t takeoff, however.)

For airport professionals, the program gives them an opportunity to “observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured learning environment.” The goal is to help them improve their skills dealing with all sorts of people that may have a variety of different issues that make it more difficult to travel.

Upcoming Wings for All sessions

You can participate in a future Wings for All airport day. See the schedule below.

  • Binghamton, New York: Oct. 26
  • Cleveland, Ohio: Oct. 26
  • Kansas City, Missouri: Oct. 26
  • Anchorage, Alaska: Nov. 2
  • Lexington, Kentucky: Nov. 9
  • Syracuse, New York: Nov. 16

Or, contact Wings for All to bring the program to an airport near you.

Featured image by AzmanL/Getty Images

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