Despite everything from my blogs related to products and other events through Future Horizon’s, I have to once again realize the origins of these blogs. That is to write about topics are of scholarly value while others in practical application. Here, I would like to once again write about autism and traveling through an airport. Yes, it has been a while since I have put my peddle to medal and really talk about more things that I feel anyone could benefit from. Without further delay, here are more things I have considered.
Foremost, about a handful of airports, including Hartsfield-Jackson International airport have opened sensory friendly. To name a few others, Cork International Airport in Shannon Ireland, Heathrow International Airport, and Myrtle Beach International. Beyond that, officials from Pittsburg International came to visit Hartsfield with the purpose of designing a third sensory room in the US. Looking at their website, they stated that they have spoken with the public of how a sensory room should look like. A few suggestions were
Calming activities for children
As someone who have spent lots of time with the “Wings for Autism/All” events and the “Taking Flight: Autism Worldport Rehearsal Tours,” I support all of the above, being that autism can affect one’s sensory issues. That Hartsfield-Jackson being so big, I warmly welcome closing down the smoking lounges and converting them into other sensory rooms. Right now the option is to go all the way to concourse F, they locate which just inside the international terminal. Otherwise, finding the quietest spot at another concourse at an empty gate, discovering nooks inside each gate, and even walking downstairs with the tunnels and the electric train are. Even more so, since there are only a handful of sensory friendly rooms in international airports, out of 40,000, other options have to select.
On another note, families have the option of investing in noise canceling headphones which are wireless. After doing thorough research of trying out and looking into price options, I found that Sony really has the best quality for families who have loved ones with sensory processing disorders and other factors that trigger their anxiety. Yes, Sony and Bose offer a more peaceful experience for an autistic, this is a very costly investment. The average price of good quality noise-canceling headphones comes in at the price of $300-$400. In that case, a family night needs financial aid to help their child. Yes, there are cheaper options out there. For instance, Sony offers a pair of $50.00 noise-canceling headphones that required being plugged into a phone. Others only work when paired with a phone or plugged in. Unlike the Sony or Bose, listen to music. Still, they are thick enough to muffle loud, surprising and overwhelming noises. That said, if noise cancelling headphones are not an option, one can invest in getting a pair of headsets or old-fashioned foam earplugs.
I for one and a sensory seeker, which means that I enjoy the feeling of the foam when applying the ear plugs in a noisy environment.
Just as importantly, airport personnel needs to know that a passenger has an invisible disability like autism spectrum disorders. Just recently, airports in the UK have adopted the Sunflower lanyard program. This enables autistics to wear special lanyards with Sunflower which tells a worker that the passenger has an invisible disability and may need help. Why just today, while I was at the Wings for All, event, I received a gift bag. Inside contained a bracelet with the Delta logo that lights up in two directions. One one end, the light remains steady, whereas the other, the light will flash. This gave me another idea I think airports like Hartsfield-Jackson will find to be helpful. Like with the sunflower project, autistics would wear similar bracelets that light up while they are at an airport. All the while, they would train all airport personnel to in being able to recognize the illuminated bracelets. Whenever an autistic is about to have a meltdown, their parents and themselves can then switch the bracelet to flashing mode which would notify an airport official they need help. Believe me, I could think about all of this in one afternoon after seeing the bracelet post at the big event.
As I bring this to a close, I really hope that the public has time to read this blog and that these words taken seriously and put into action. Even more so, that families and individuals on the spectrum will feel more comfortable by traveling through an airport.
Dyson, M. (2019). Cork airport rolls out scheme for passengers with hidden disabilities. [Web article]. URL: