NORTH CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) – Giving an opportunity for everyone to be comfortable while traveling was the goal of Saturday’s Wings for All event at the Charleston International Airport.
Wings for All is a program that allows people with autism or intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families to participate in a safe but realistic travel day at a busy airport.
“The whole intent of it is to reduce the anxiety of the parents, the person with a disability, as well as familiarize the TSA agents and everyone else with people with disabilities to help release or reduce all of the anxiety,” The Arc Lowcountry Executive Director Bernard Johnson said.
Over 120 people joined with their families before checking in at the airline’s desk, going through security and boarding the plane before taking off to spend about an hour in the air.
The experience was all about making sure everyone was comfortable with the sounds and stress inside the airport.
“Just going through the motions and getting his reactions instead of being on a plane with a bunch of passengers,” parent Cory Linder said. “It’s hard to travel with those that have special needs, so it’s kinda nice to sit back and relax knowing that you are around people that have similar concerns, so future travel is just easier.”
Wings for All was created by The Arc back in 2014, but it was the first time the event was hosted in the Lowcountry.
The program also hopes to educate airline personnel on ways to improve the experience for passengers of all ages with autism spectrum disorders.
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