Children Given Special Attention through Wings for Autism Program

2014-04-08 11:06

With summer a few months away and spring vacations starting galore, autistic children may require some extra attention when it comes to helping them cope with an air flight experience. Flying is frightening enough for the average child; those with certain sensitivities may find it nearly impossible to get through the first time around. Forcing a child through that experience may then cause irreversible trauma.

I believe myself to be a good example of this. I am the type of person who hates changes and find it hard to come to terms with things that are unexpected. I don't remember my first airplane experience, but I do remember the excruciating pain in my ears every time that flight took off and began to land. I remember crying so hard that nothing could appease me. You see, I had an ear infection as a baby that left my hearing ultra sensitive to certain pitches and pressures. I cannot withstand whistling and certain birds cannot sing around me without my feeling like a knife is tearing through my ears. Needless to say, travelling by plane was probably the worst thing for me. What got me through it all was the excitement that prevailed as we went on one adventure or another. I learned how to deal with it over time, figured out how to mitigate the pain and decided to fight against the discomfort. Now I love to fly, but always carry a few packs of gum and some suckable candies to ensure my ears stay open and my mouth keeps moving.

Wings for Autism
I believe one of the greatest programs that I have heard or read about is the initiative by Charles River Center (a chapter of The Arc of the United States) in relation to a program called "Wings for Autism" that caters to helping families with autistic children ease the stress of flying. To launch this unique program, the Center teamed up with Massport, Transportation Security Administration (TSA), JetBlue and the Charles River Center (an autism support center).


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Obviously you are a paid mouthpiece for JetBlue, as you don't realize the hypocrisy of the same airline that booted an autistic girl off a flight recently after the airline claimed she was a danger to the other passengers. Enjoy your check.
Actually, JetBlue's existence was pretty much unknown until I came across information about the program. Would you mind giving me exact information about this event? PS: That check must have gotten lost in the mail :)
For the record, John Richardson, Wings for Autism is a 100% free program. Airlines donate planes and their staff volunteer their time to participate in the execution of each event. While JetBlue is one airline that participates, American, Continental, Delta and United are equally as involved and have indicated a clear interest in training airline personnel on Autism/special needs. It is a work in progress, of course, since if you know anything about the special needs community, acceptance is slow. Besides, JetBlue doesn't need this publicity as after becoming involved with the trademarked Wings for Autism program, it decided to launch a competitive program all its own called Blue Horizons for Autism. Go tackle that strange move....