ARLINGTON, VA — The Transportation Security Administration supported a Wings for All event at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on Saturday, November 5, during which approximately 115 individuals with autism and and their families had a day of practice at the airport.
The practice day was designed to familiarize individuals with autism and other individuals with the flying experience from check-in-counter to the TSA security checkpoint, to the gate, and finally onto an aircraft.
TSA made 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.
Eight TSA officers volunteered to participate and assist in this familiarization event.
TSA at dozens of airports participate in the annual Wings for Autism/Wings for All 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, and then walking through the scanners, and picking up their belongings at the end of the checkpoint.
“The event is a wonderful opportunity to expose families to the airport environment, including our checkpoints,” said TSA’s Federal Security Director Kerwin Wilson. “We want them to understand that a checkpoint is not something to be afraid of, and in fact, we have been successful in getting that across to participants in the past.”
View TSA’s video about the personal experience that a TSA employee and his autistic child had during a Wings for Autism event.