ATL’s inaugural “Wings for Autism” event is designed to ease travelling stress by introducing – and acclimating – autistic individuals to the everyday routines at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.
ATL’s inaugural “Wings for Autism” event is designed to ease traveling stress by introducing—and acclimating—individuals with autism to the everyday routines at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport.

 
The Wings for Autism program from The Arc of the U.S. came to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in April during National Autism Awareness month.  The event, which was designed for people with autism and other developmental disabilities, aims to reduce the stress and uncertainty associated with flying by giving travelers the opportunity to rehearse processes such as: flight check-in, going through security, and finding and boarding the correct plane. Parents and caregivers were moved to tears as their loved one with a disability boarded a plane for the first time.  Additionally, airport and TSA personnel are provided with the opportunity to observe and learn alongside travelers with disabilities and their families, creating a structured and mutual learning environment for all who participated.
 
During the program, Delta Airlines hosted a ribbon cutting for their brand new sensory room at Harstfield-Jackson. The room, located in Concourse F, offers a soothing and supportive environment for travelers with sensory needs to better acclimate to the travel experience; it includes a tactile activity panel, mini-crash pit and other activities designed with travelers on the autism spectrum in mind. Delta staff sat in amazement as they experienced the noticeable relaxation of one young lady with autism as she enjoyed the bubble tube while in the sensory room.
 
We would like to thank our partners at The Arc of Midlands, The Arc of the U.S., the Autism Society of Georgia, as well as our generous sponsors: Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Center for Leadership in Disability at Georgia State University, Emory Autism Center, The Center for Puppetry Arts and our participating sponsor, Delta Airlines.
 
© Photos by Ryan Johnson

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