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This Program Helped People With Autism Prepare to Fly

For most people, the thought of flying to a vacation spot or to visit family can be exciting. But for those with autism, the unfamiliar sights and sounds of an airport, as well as the confinement of an airplane, can be extremely stressful.

In a special partnership, HP, The Arc Fresno/Madera Counties, and SkyWest Airlines helped children and adults with autism get the chance to rehearse and adjust to air travel at the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport in California through the Wings for Autism program.

Wings for Autism is a free program that creates a “dry run” to help ease the stress of airline travel for the families of people with autism.

During half-day events at select airports across the US, families are walked through standard aspects of travel — such as checking-in, security screening, boarding a plane, preparing for take-off, and exiting the plane — by airline, TSA, and other airport personnel.

At the Fresno-Yosemite International Airport event, HP Sprocket, HP DeskJet, and HP ENVY printers were available for families to capture their memories and create story books. Since many people with autism communicate well with pictures, these photographs will help ease the anxieties of future travel.

Wings for Autism was founded in 2011 by the Charles River Center, an affiliated chapter of The Arc, and the Massachusetts Port Authority. The Arc is the largest national community-based organization advocating for and serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Since its inception, more than 2,100 people on the autism spectrum and with other intellectual and developmental disabilities have taken part in Wings for Autism.

HP’s participation in the Wings for Autism event is part of the company’s efforts to develop technology and solutions that can help make life better for everyone, everywhere.