September 29th, The Arc of the Ozarks, Allegiant Airlines and The Arc of the United States co-hosted a Wings for Autism® event at the Springfield-Branson National Airport. This event is being held in partnership with the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), Reliable Chevrolet and Theracare. Wings for Autism®/Wings for All® program is an airport “rehearsal” created to alleviate some of the stress that individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families experience when traveling by air.
At arrival, participants received carry on bags with Wings for Autism shirts, snacks and goodies. They then got in line for a boarding pass. Once the boarding pass was received, the participants went through TSA to finally board the aircraft. Once onboard, many participants were able to see the cockpit. The flight attendants went through normal flight procedures before the participants were dismissed for a reception of Chick-fil-A and cake.
“We are so thankful as parents to be given the opportunity to practice boarding a plane,” stated Andrea, parent of participant. “We could not have asked for kinder staff through the whole process.”
This event is open to all individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Springfield area and beyond who seek a safe but realistic experience of travelling through a busy airport. More than 54 participants and their parents/guardians from the greater Springfield attended the event.
“We are so excited for the success of this event,” stated Angie Perryman, Family Advocate and event coordinator. “If one family can go on a vacation because of this rehearsal event, it was all worth it. We will be making this an annual event.”