LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A new initiative has been launched to offer parents the opportunity to
take their child with autism on a short experience flight so they can
assess how they cope with the whole process and develop strategies to
overcome any issues.
The lives of thousands of families are affected by autism. For many
parents the prospect of a journey by air is too daunting to contemplate
because of the worry of how their child with autism will react to this
unique environment. The new sounds and sensations of air travel,
together with the noise and bustle of an airport can be unnerving and
frightening to anyone experiencing it for the first time, but for
someone with autism, this can be greatly amplified and overwhelming.
Led by specialist aviation training company, FOF Events, raising funds
in support of The National Autistic Society, and in conjunction with
Ryanair, the Flying
With Autism initiative has been established not only to help a child
with autism familiarise themselves with the flying experience, but also
for parents and carers so they can undertake the necessary preparation
in advance of the flight to ensure that their child’s experience is as
smooth and as comfortable as possible.
It’s a 2 part programme consisting of an initial Ground Course
exclusively for parents and carers to help them prepare their child for
the airport and aircraft environment. This is then followed by an
exclusive Experience Flight, a fortnight later, offering the
parents/carers and their child with autism the opportunity to take a
short flight to assess how they cope with air travel before committing
to a potentially expensive overseas holiday.
The programme is designed to provide advice and coping techniques to
assist parents and carers support a child with autism through the more
stressful parts of the experience such as airport security as well as
the noises and sensations on board an aircraft.
The 2 hour Ground Course will be held at 2.30pm on Sunday 28th
February 2016 at the Chiltern Hotel in Luton and the Experience Flight,
aboard a Ryanair
Boeing 737, will take off from Stansted airport at 2.30pm on Sunday 13th
March for a 30 minute round trip flight.
Kelly Railton, Corporate Partnership Lead Manager, The
National Autistic Society, commented: “We are very
excited that Flying with Autism has nominated our charity to benefit
from donations from their courses. A recent survey by the NAS showed
transportation is a huge issue for people on the autism spectrum and
their families, and can prevent them from taking part in everyday
activities, particularly leisure opportunities such as holidaying
abroad. We hope that Flying with Autism’s courses, along with our own
current work in creating more accessible transport environments (such as
airports and trains), will help the more than 1 in 100 people on the
autism spectrum in the UK, and their families, to access the same
leisure and culture activities as everyone else.”
Ryanair’s Director of Personnel and Inflight, Eddie Wilson added:
“We are pleased to support this initiative by providing free use of our
aircraft and we hope this course will make flying that bit easier for
families touched by autism. We are striving to improve the Ryanair
experience for all customers and especially families, and we look
forward to welcoming these parents and children on board in March, and
hopefully on future Ryanair flights.”
The cost of the full programme is £289 which includes the initial ground
course and the experience flight.