“Wings for All” at Lehigh Valley International Airport on May 6
March 16, 2017
Air travel experience for people with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities
Allentown, PA – Since its arrival in 2014, “Wings for Autism®,” a trademarked program of The Arc of The United States, which is conducted locally by The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties and its partner, Lehigh Valley International Airport (LVIA), has impacted 150 individuals with autism and related disorders on the autism spectrum, and their families. The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties and Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority (LNAA) are excited to announce the extension of this special partnership, but this year’s event has a new look.
“Wings for All ®” is scheduled for Saturday, May 6 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. This event provides a unique rehearsal event for people with autism and other intellectual and developmental disabilities to have a real-life experience using an airport when traveling by plane.
“Wings for All ®” offers families the opportunity to work through anxieties and fulfill dreams of being able to visit grandma at Thanksgiving, or take a trip to Disney World,” said Karen Shoemaker, Executive Director of The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties.
For a third consecutive year, Allegiant is providing an aircraft for participants to experience the following: proceeding to the ticket counter, security clearance by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), walking through the terminal, boarding the plane. The entire day allows the participants the opportunity to face challenges and hopefully eliminate the anxiety of traveling by plane. Finally, the participants depart the aircraft and enjoy refreshments during a special reception, courtesy of Lehigh Valley International Airport.
More than 40 volunteers will be on hand to assist the individuals and families successfully complete the experience, with helpful tips and suggestions they can use when traveling by air in the future.
“This event provides inspiration for everyone involved and we are extremely proud of the dedication demonstrated each year by staff, volunteers, Allegiant and The Arc,” said Lehigh-Northampton Airport Authority Executive Director, Charles Everett.