Due to anxiety and sensory sensitivities, individuals with autism can become overwhelmed by the airport environment and the lengthy and unpredictable experience. The simulated airport rehearsal helps to reduce barriers to air travel by preparing families living with autism for the whole pre-flight process, making the airport a less stressful and more predictable environment.
Stephanie Jull, VP of Programmes, Training and Community Engagement, said: “We are thrilled to partner with YVR once again to increase autism accessibility at the airport. Due to this tour, individuals and families living with autism can more confidently navigate the airport, opening up a world of air travel opportunities.”
CAN and YVR began their partnership in 2014 with the aim of decreasing anxiety associated with air travel and building confidence for future travel success. Since its launch, the annual YVR & CAN Autism Accessibility Tour has been delivered to over 400 individuals, many of whom have since travelled successfully.
Kim Halowski, Manager, Community Relations, Vancouver Airport Authority, said: “At YVR, one of our top priorities is providing a positive and accessible experience for everyone. We are proud to once again partner with CAN to host this year’s autism accessibility tour. Beyond the tour and through our long-standing partnership with CAN, we have been able to introduce a number of accessible travel tools and resources to help families and individuals living with autism navigate the airport experience – another step towards removing barriers to air travel.”
The autism accessibility programme includes helpful resources such as the YVR Resource Kit which features a step-by-step storybook, interactive checklist, airport map and tips for travel, and a video series that helps travellers with autism prepare for flight. YVR has also introduced the YVR Autism Access Sticker, a self-identification tool for individuals living with autism that can be placed on boarding passes. The sticker ensures an expedited airport process through screening and customs and better communicates the specific needs of passengers to airport employees.