July 9, 2014

Mark McDonald SNP MEP for Aberdeen has been working alongside the National Autism Society in Scotland to make Scottish airports advertise autism support within their walls.

Support can mean Fast track lanes, more airport staff on hand for families with autistic children, familiarisation programs and extra human resources for contact.

Robert MacBean, policy and campaigns officer with The National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland commented,

“People with autism and their families want to access the same opportunities most of us take for granted, and this includes holiday and travel. But many can find unpredictable situations distressing and disorientating, and rely on routines to make sense of an often unpredictable world.

“By making certain, small adjustments that help build familiarity with the airport process and environment, Scotland’s airports are making important progress. But raising awareness of the support available is crucial, as is ensuring advice and information is easily accessible.

“The National Autistic Society (NAS) Scotland welcomes Mark McDonald MSP’s report and the opportunity to work with Scotland’s airports and people with autism and their families to help make holidays and travel as pleasant and straightforward an experience as possible.”

Charlene Tait, Director of Development of Scottish Autism commented:

“Having recently developed a support package with Edinburgh Airport and Wideaware to help passengers with autism and additional support needs, we welcome the additional attention this report will give to this issue.

“People with autism can be disenfranchised from air travel because they cannot cope with the unpredictability of the airport environment. Fact sheets that illustrate what will happen at the different stages of an airport journey and familiarisation programmes can be very helpful in preparing someone with autism for travel. Raising awareness of the assistance that is available is also important.

“Calls to our Autism Advice Line suggest many people do not know that there is assistance available at other airports in Scotland. We would encourage other airports to promote, and where necessary develop, the assistance they can offer individuals with autism and additional support needs.”

About the author 

Shân Ellis

Shân Ellis, is a qualified journalist with five years experience of writing features, blogging and working on a regional newspaper. Prior to working as a journalist, she was a ghost writer for top publishers and was closely involved in the editing and development of book series. Shân has a degree in the sciences, and 5 A levels. She lives in the UK and is the mother of an autistic child.

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