SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KOLR 10) – People with developmental disabilities often have a hard time at airports due to the loud noises and unfamiliar activities.
However, special needs kids got a chance to overcome their flying fears Saturday at the Springfield-Branson national airport.
“The event is going to be pretty much exactly like what you would do on your typical, boarding a plane,” said Angie Perryman, an event organizer.
Perryman explained how the process worked, starting with getting boarding passes.
Wings for Autism partnered with Allegiant Airlines at the airport.
Participants went through the TSA security line just like every one else.
They put their personal items in tubs, took their shoes off and went through the metal detectors.
“And then they’ll actually be able to board the plane,” Perryman said.
Event goers said this day has been hugely helpful to expose people with developmental disabilities to the airport to be able to fly in the future.
“It’s just nice that airports and other places are starting to have more openness with people with special needs, it’s a lot of families don’t do a lot of stuff because we’re afraid of what might happen if we take a child with special needs out in public,” said Beverly Tubbs, a participating family member.
“It is a scary process, sometimes whenever you have a child, an adult family member that on the autism spectrum, they’ve never flown before, so being able to do all of that, go through security, you don’t sometimes really want to spend a lot of money if you’re not going to be able to get on the plane,” Perryman explained.
Event organizers are hoping more airports around the country can organize events like “Wings for Autism.”