Children Given Special Attention through Wings for Autism Program
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).