JetBlue’s Wings For Autism Program – April 6 At BOS

I am not only an AvGeek and frequent flyer … I am also the father of an autistic child. Autism takes many different forms and makes traveling as a family very challenging.   I wrestle with the very notion of taking my youngest son on a flight, because I can not predict what the experience will be like for him, for me or those sealed in a flying metal tube with us.  His two older siblings have flown to California, Las Vegas, Virginia, but the youngest has yet to experience the joys of airline travel.

 

As April is National Autism Awareness Month, JetBlue’s team at Boston Logan Airport has a wonderful program for familiarizing autistic children and their families with airline travel.  The airline has established the now annual Wings for Autism program, along with the Charles River Center, Boston Logan Airport and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), to give autistic children and their families the opportunity to experience the airport environment, the TSA screening process and meet the people who make flights happen.

 

Even the simplest travel with many autistic children can be a stressful anxiety filled outing … and that is just for the parents. Out burst, melt downs, failure to follow instructions, getting undressed and a host of other scenarios play out, but the Wings for Autism program is a situation where they can play out in a safe environment, surrounded by airline and airport staff trained to address these situations and hopefully give children a positive experience where they view the airport and airplane as an environment they want to be in and are comfortable in, reducing the negative situations parents of autistic children face every day.

 

I’d love to tell you what the Wings for Autism program does for each child but each child with autism is different, with different needs and different experiences … but the fact that that program exists to assist families struggling with the challenging question of “do I book a flight?” is fantastic.

 

I plan to bring my son to Logan Airport this Saturday to let him learn the airport experience if things go as planned. If you are in the region and have a child with autism consider bringing them as well.

 

JetBlue’s Wings for Autism program is at Boston Logan Airport this Saturday, April 6th, from 9:00am to  1:00pm. You can get more information and register for the program with the Charles River Center  HERE.  If you need more info, drop JetBlue a Tweet at @JetBlue

 

Happy Flying!

 

@flyingwithfish

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  1. That is so great. I have such a heart for kids with autism. For awhile I was going to school for Psychology to specifically work with children with autism. I hope that your son enjoys his experience on Saturday.

  2. I’m a parent of an adult son with autism. In a way, we were fortunate that we had already traveled by air several times before he was diagnosed with autism at age three. He has many challenges including behavioral, cognitive, language and medical, but he LOVES flying and travel in general. As he became older and his challenges have in some respects become greater, we have not traveled by air as frequently as we once did ( including trips to ANC, SJU, LAX, PHX, LIH, amongst others), but we still look forward to future travel, as he is able. Our home airport is BOS, but I had not of this program before. It sounds terrific for all involved. Best wishes as you endeavor to fly with your son.

  3. Hi Mr. Fish – I know that feeling of “what’s going to happen?” really well. Each day is its own adventure.

    In my family’s case, our son loves to “go airplane”. That said, he’s been known to get a bit grumpy (toward us) if things don’t go according to his anticipated schedule. Trying the airport/flying thing out with the program you’re going to at Logan sounds like a great way to test the waters (and see what your son will and won’t like about the process). I’ll be thinking of you folks and wishing you well! And I hope you’ll consider letting us know how it went if you’re comfortable doing so. Best Wishes!

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