Los Angeles airport introduces the world’s first self-identification program to ensure people with Autism may enjoy seamless airport journeys.
Los Angeles World Airports’ personnel, along the TSA, participating airlines and airport tenants are inaugurating the world's first autism self-identification program at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) on April 1st.
“By self-identifying, potential incidents with police, airport, and airline personnel can be defused,” Lawrence Rolon, LAWA’s coordinator for disability services, said. “Stickers identify the person with autism, so that If a behavioural incident occurs, the responding personnel will immediately recognize the behaviour is likely a result of autism.”
The self-identification program is the product of a partnership between Los Angeles airport’s Office of Disabilities, families with autistic children, and the LeRoy Haynes Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping children with special needs.
“Airport employees have received training on how to recognize the stickers and their meaning,” Rolon said. “They also received
training on recognizing different types of behaviour they may encounter and working with parents to defuse situations before they become problems.”
In addition to LAX and TSA, other program participants include the Haynes Family of Services; parents of the LeRoy Haynes Center, Aero Port Services, Reliant Immediate Care Medical Center and the Los Angeles Fire Department, American Airlines, United, Copa, Air New Zealand, Southwest and Virgin America.
Participation in the program is voluntary. Families self-identify at the ticketing counter of the participating airlines and receive two non-intrusive stickers per child, one for the front and the other for the back.
“Families with autism are encouraged to provide input to help alleviate their concerns about flying and their previous experiences,” Lawrence Rolon added. “The knowledge gained will help the airport community make the flight experience for families much less stressful.”
This is not the first time LAX takes the lead on providing the best possible experience to people with Autism. Las Christmas, Lawrence Rolon made headlines worldwide stating that Autism should not be a barrier to flying.