AER LINGUS has launched visual guides online to help prepare people with autism and similar conditions for air travel.
The guides, designed in partnership with the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support at Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, contain a series of slides that walk people through all the steps involved in preparing for and experiencing air travel.
The guides capture the entire air travel experience in colour photographs and are divided into three parts: pre-flight, on board, and post-flight.
Aer Lingus recommends going through the guides prior to travelling to prepare for the unknown, which can be anxiety-inducing in individuals with autism. It gives parents and caregivers unprecedented access to visuals that are not normally available, given today’s security standards.
Declan Kearney, Director of Communications at Aer Lingus, said: “We are delighted to launch this resource as we know it will make a real impact on the travel experience of people with autism.
"We understand this can be a stressful experience for both the individual, families and caregivers and we noted a need for increased support in this area.
"The guides are available online so that caregivers can easily access them, whether that’s on a desktop computer, on the go via a mobile device or by printing it out onto cards.”
Founder and Director of Irish autism charity As I Am, Adam Harris welcomed the launch of the visual guides.
“Airports and airplanes can be stressful environments for everybody but especially for individuals with autism and any tools which support those with autism in preparing for travel should be warmly welcomed," he said.
"In order for people with autism to be meaningfully included in society, it is essential that all aspects of the community take steps to ensure accessibility."