Program eases travel stress for families with autistic children - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Program eases travel stress for families with autistic children

PHILADELPHIA (NBC) - A new program aims to make air travel easier for families with an autistic child.

The Airport Autism Access Program hopes to help make flying less traumatic by guiding autistic children through the experience.

Pediatrician Dr. Wendy Ross helped developed the program at Albert Einstein Medical Center after hearing the trouble one of her patients was having on the airplane.

Ross said the program empowers families to travel.

"The goal is not to fill the plane with tantrum kids," Ross said. "We really want the families to be prepared and we want the airport to be a little more sensitive and understanding."

The training includes going through security, real time check in, boarding and even waiting for luggage.

Ross said various airlines have come forward to provide the program with the use of an airplane and crew for training.

"So we're working on both sides, and we're providing them with knowledge and skills and strategies so that they have the tools to build a bridge between them, and to sort of meet each other in the middle," Ross said.

Ross says it's important economically for these families to be able to travel with ease.

"If you think that one in 100 children is affected with autism, and it doesn't just affect that child, it affects their typically developing siblings," Ross said. "These families are not going out, which means the whole family is not going out. So for businesses, that's a huge loss."

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