NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Getting through airport security is overwhelming for anyone, but it’s especially challenging for people with autism.
“We wanted to teach her how to travel,” Yolanda Frazier said of her daughter.
Frazier and her daughter were among 25 families participating in the Wings for Autism program at LaGuardia International Airport Saturday.
“Airports can be pretty chaotic places, so we’re trying to make it as structured and predictable as possible so that when the day comes when they want to travel, that they know what to expect and what then final outcome is,” program organizer John Goodson said.
As CBS2’s Matt Kozar reported, the program is sponsored by Arc, an organization that advocates for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
The idea of the program is to expose children with autism to the routines of the airport, like conveyor belts hauling luggage, the check-in desk, metal detectors and getting on the plane.
“It could be a little bit traumatic for them. It could be a very sensory overload experience for a lot of these kids,” Jay Gavrilov said.
Gavrilov and his son made it aboard without any issues.
Saturday’s test was good practice for their big trip in a few weeks to Disney World.
Organizers say the event also gave TSA agents and airline personnel an opportunity to interact and observe how children with autism deal with the stresses of the airport.