RICHMOND — The Transportation Security Administration is supporting a Wings for All event at Richmond International Airport on Saturday, November 5, during which more than 30 individuals with autism or other intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families are expected to participate in a day of practice at the airport.
The practice day is designed to familiarize individuals with autism with the flying experience from check-in-counter to the TSA security checkpoint, to the gate, and finally onto an aircraft.
TSA will make a security lane available for event participants, thus allowing participants to take their time, ask questions and learn what to expect when going through an airport checkpoint so that in the future, when they take an actual flight, they will be familiar with the process and know what to expect.
Eighteen TSA officers and support personnel have volunteered to participate and assist in this familiarization event.
“This event is a wonderful opportunity to familiarize families with the airport environment, including our checkpoints,” said TSA’s Federal Security Director Chuck Burke. “Our goal is for the participants from Wings for Autism and other passengers with disabilities to recognize that a TSA security checkpoint is not something to be afraid of, and that we recognize everyone’s needs during the process. In the past, this event has been successful throughout the country in getting that message across to all who participate.”
The event is being conducted in partnership with TSA, The Arc of Hanover, the Autism Society of Central Virginia, Delta Air Lines, Delaware North Companies, Inc., the Doug Flutie Foundation and the Capital Region Airport Commission.
TSA at several airports participate in the annual Wings for Autism events nationwide. TSA supports sensitive screening for individuals with autism and their families. The participants receive boarding passes, which are scanned at the checkpoint. Then they go through the security screening process, emptying their pockets, putting their items into bins, then walking through the scanners, and picking up their belongings at the end of the checkpoint.
View TSA’s video about the personal experience that a TSA employee and his autistic child had during a Wings for Autism event.