Traveling can be especially tough for individuals and families living with autism. Although one person could have mild symptoms, another’s could include severe tantrums, self-injury, defensiveness, and aggression, according to Autism Canada.
This can make transitions during traveling harder for families and individuals living with autism. However, YVR Airport is aiming to make the overall travel experience more accessible for families living with autism by partnering with the Canucks Autism Network (CAN).
As a result, this makes YVR the first airport in Canada to implement a program which provides an expedited airport experience for individuals and families living with autism.
This partnership program flows from YVR’s recognition that the pre-flight experience can cause significant anxiety and/or trigger sensitivities and present challenges for families with autism to successfully and comfortably navigate the airport environment.
The program offers resources which include:
- An annual I CAN Fly Accessibility Tour, which allows families with autism to undergo the entire pre-flight process.
- A travel resource toolkit, which includes an activity storybook, a checklist, an airport map, and tips for travel.
- A step-by-step video series, illustrating the pre-flight process.
- The YVR Autism Access Sticker, which provides an expedited airport process through YVR FastTrack lanes.
So let’s talk about that expedited pass sticker: The YVR Autism Access Sticker is applied to the boarding pass and allows for an accelerated procession through security screening and US Customs. To participate in the program, visit one of YVR’s pre-security Customer Care counters to request a sticker or ask your airline upon check-in.
It also acts as a helpful identification tool for cabin crew, screening staff, and any other airport staff so they can best accommodate travelers living with autism.
Another aim of the program is to teach airport employees and volunteers how to accommodate individuals living with autism and better anticipate challenging situations.
YVR Airport is a financially independent company. Its overall mission statement is community-focused, and this allows for all profits to be reinvested back into the airport and the communities it serves – without government funding.
And from 2014 to 2018, the airport has donated $200,000 to CAN. The autism program is just one of the many initiatives organized by the airport.
Find out more about the accessibility travel planning programs by visiting YVR Airport now.