Edinburgh Airport has become the first airport in Scotland to achieve an Autism Friendly Award, recognizing the hub’s efforts to create an accessible and supportive environment for autistic passengers.
Busy airport environments can often make the experience challenging for passengers with autism, and a number of measures have been introduced at Edinburgh Airport to help mitigate that. These include extra training for staff to help passengers with additional needs; an Edinburgh Airport-specific Social Story to help children prepare for the journey; a pre-visit to the airport to familiarize passengers with the sights and sounds of the airport environment; discreet lanyard and pin badges to identify those with hidden disabilities so staff are aware of the need for additional support; and the provision of children’s books for those who haven’t traveled before, or who need something extra to help them prepare.
Gordon Dewar, chief executive of Edinburgh Airport, said, “Airports can be extremely busy places and that can be quite daunting for people with additional needs, especially if they rely on a routine that a place like an airport can upset.
“We’ve looked at that and considered where we could make simple but effective changes to make the journey through Edinburgh Airport as easy as possible for those with autism and other additional needs. Our staff and partners have worked together to provide this service and this award is a clear indication of our commitment to make Edinburgh as accessible as possible for the 13 million passengers who use the airport every year.”
The Autism Friendly Award, administered by the National Autistic Society Scotland, recognizes organizations that have taken steps to ensure that autistic people and their families can access and enjoy public spaces. It was introduced after the charity revealed that 66% of autistic people in Scotland feel socially isolated.