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Monday, April 25, 2016

Traveling With An Autistic Child? Check Out These 15 Airports That Offer "Rehearsal" Programs

The first time I flew with David after he was old enough to walk (and the airport now had full body scanners), I was more than a little nervous. 

I prepped him as much as possible, but as we approached the line and the machinery hummed, he started getting agitated. I got more concerned because you just never know what's going to come out of David's mouth - especially when he's under stress - but before he could slide into a meltdown, an agent pulled us aside and walked us through a separate gate, used a hand wand on both of us and told us to have a nice day.

I thanked her sincerely, and she just smiled and said, "It's okay. Some kids handle it better than others. I didn't want him to be uncomfortable."

Thank you TSA agent at the Philadelphia International Airport, whoever you are.

It turns out Philadelphia is one of 15 airports around the country that offer "Rehearsal Programs" for kids with autism or other issues that might make airport travel a source of extreme stress. In Philadelphia this is known as the Autism Access Program and even includes includes special "social stories"  and a simulated airport experience.

For more information on the airports with these sort of programs click here.

Traveling can be exciting and adventurous, but for a child whose comfort lies in routine, it can be a source of serious stress and fear. Programs like these not only assist the children, but make travel for the whole family so much easier.

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