Gatwick Airport celebrated World Autism Awareness Day by inviting 30 local families to an event designed to provide an overview of airport processes before they travel.
Traveling through an airport can be a challenge for people affected by autism, so the event in the North Terminal provided the opportunity to be transparent about what happens. Families could ‘check in’, ride on assistance buggies, meet trained security dogs and the police, watch the x-ray machines in action, and talk with staff about traveling with autism.
Maria Cook, Gatwick’s autism ambassador, commented, “I am so proud to be Gatwick’s autism ambassador and to play a part in the airport’s Hidden Disability Assistance Programme and official Autism Friendly accreditation. I hope to see other UK airports follow Gatwick’s lead and establish official autism-friendly programs of their own.
“The number of people in organizations across the airport who have volunteered their free time to be part of the awareness day has been overwhelming, from those working for airlines and security, to the emergency services, special assistance and terminal teams. Across the board, everyone involved wants to proactively improve their provision for people with autism.
“It has been a mammoth team effort behind the scenes to make this day happen and I would like to thank everyone involved.”