The Arc's Wings for Autism® program is an airport rehearsal specially designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families and aviation professionals.
Originated by the Charles River Center, a Massachusetts chapter of The Arc, Wings for Autism helps alleviate some of the stress people with disabilities and their families experience when traveling by air. The program provides families with the opportunity to participate in the entire airport experience by practicing entering the airport, obtaining boarding passes, going through security and boarding an airplane.
"Part of The Arc of Fond du Lac's mission is to provide opportunities, many of which we take for granted, to individuals with cognitive and physical disabilities such as flying on an airplane," said David Boelter, executive director of The Arc of Fond du Lac. "Wings for Autism gives this opportunity to families to know that their loved ones with disabilities are able to fly with confidence."
Wings for Autism® also gives airport, airline, TSA professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured learning environment.
"Traveling can be stressful for anyone, but for children and adults with developmental disabilities, the process can be even more intimidating," said Abe Weber, airport director. "I want traveling through Appleton International Airport to be a fun and exciting experience for everyone. I'm proud to support The Arc along with Allegiant Air and our local partnering agencies as they raise awareness through their Wings for Autism event."
"We are excited to bring the Wings For Autism program back to Appleton Airport," said Peter Burns, CEO of The Arc of the United States. "This program will not only alleviate the stress children and their parents feel, but help educate airport and airlines professionals about how best to serve children with autism or other intellectual and developmental disabilities in the future."
The Appleton flight will feature an Allegiant Airbus 319 with 156 seats, allowing 78 families to participate. For information and to register for the flight, visit http://bit.ly/WingsForAutism2018.