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Guest Blog: Travel Resources by YVR and Canucks Autism Network

July 14, 2017
Jlu

This guest post was written by Canucks Autism Network.

YVR and Canucks Autism Network develop Autism Access Sticker and other resources for travelers with autism

Travelling through the airport can be an overwhelming and stressful experience for anyone, but for a family living with autism, it can be a barrier to travel.

The reason for the increased difficulty is that individuals with autism often face a lot of sensory and anxiety-related issues in new environments. An unfamiliar setting like the airport, with its loud noises, bright lights, big crowds and continuous waiting, can pose particular challenges.

In an effort to make the airport a more accessible and welcoming environment for travelers with autism, Vancouver International Airport (YVR) and the Canucks Autism Network (CAN) have joined forces to develop the I CAN Fly Program – an initiative that provides air travel resources for families living with autism.

The I CAN Fly Program includes an annual YVR Accessibility Tour that allows families living with autism to practice the entire pre-flight process, from checking-in, to passing through security, finding the gate, waiting, and even boarding the plane. The YVR Accessibility Tour, which is hosted by YVR in partnership with CAN, Air Transat, and Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), helps individuals with autism build confidence and become familiarized with the entire airport routine.

In addition to the tour, YVR and CAN have collaborated on a travel toolkit which includes the following resources:

  • I CAN Fly with YVR- A step-by-step storybook
    This storybook helps to teach the airport routine to first time travelers with autism by outlining each step of the pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight routines.
  • I CAN Fly with YVR- A step-by-step checklist
    This interactive tool allows individuals with autism to check off each key step of the airport routine as they move throughout the airport.
  • Airport Map
    This resource provides a ‘road map’ that families can follow on their journey throughout the airport. The map includes key symbols indicating the various steps that need to be completed.
  • Tips for Travel
    Useful tips for parents or guardians travelling with autism.

The free travel resource toolkits are available at all YVR information counters and can also be downloaded at no cost here.

As a complement to the above resources, YVR and CAN created a helpful video series which can be viewed in advance of travel to help individuals with autism become familiarized and desensitized to the whole travel process. The video series breaks the airport routine into 10 short videos which can be viewed here.

Most recently, YVR and CAN introduced the YVR Autism Access Sticker. Recognized by all airlines at YVR, the Autism Access Sticker is applied to the boarding pass and provides expedited access through screening and US Customs. The sticker also acts as a helpful identification tool for cabin crew, screening staff and any other airport staff so they can best accommodate travelers with autism.


 

YVR is the first airport in Canada to implement a program that provides an expedited airport process for families and individuals living with autism. To learn more about the YVR Autism Access Sticker or I CAN Fly Program, please visit www.yvr.ca/autism.

To learn more about the YVR Accessibility Tour, please email info@canucksautism.ca