Appleton International Airport Recognized as Autism Friendly Communities Partner During Autism Acceptance Month

The Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin recognizes Appleton International Airport (ATW) as an Autism Friendly Communities partner this April during Autism Acceptance Month. The Autism Friendly Communities program aims to increase the quality of life for those affected by autism by improving community understanding of autism and improving access to inclusive experiences, programs, and events.

“Autism Acceptance month is a perfect time to recognize Appleton Airport for their commitment to inclusion and accessibility,” says Kirsten Cooper, executive director of the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin, “The Appleton Airport has joined us on our journey from awareness to acceptance by working regularly with the autism community to implement programs and supports to help travelers with autism have a successful experience at the airport.”

In partnership with the Autism Friendly Communities program and ThedaCare, ATW now provides two quiet rooms, one before and one after TSA. The rooms are available to anyone who needs a quiet space to take a sensory break, regulate or get away for a moment. Sensory fidgets are available in the rooms, provided by the Autism Society of the Fox Valley.

“The mission of Appleton Airport is to provide access to the world, as a team we take that very seriously to mean access for one and for all,” says Abe Weber, airport director, “We’re very excited to take the next step from awareness to acceptance with the goal that acceptance inspires inclusion and can break down barriers for individuals in our community with autism.”

To support individuals and families affected by autism, Appleton International Airport has hosted regular Wings for Autism events, which is a rehearsal program that provides the experience of going to an airport, checking in, going through security, board the plane, and collecting baggage. While Wings for Autism events are paused during the pandemic, families can schedule an individual tour with the airport until larger events are safe to resume.

Appleton Airport staff have also received training about autism and developed a social narrative video available to the public. The video shows the steps to take at the airport when traveling and can help individuals and families know what to expect before arriving at the airport. Individuals and families can access the video here to help prepare for a visit to the airport.

For More Information Contact

Patrick Tracey
Appleton International Airport
Marketing Manager
(920) 209-9031
patrick.tracey@outagamie.org

Kirsten Cooper
Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin
Executive Director
(920) 215-3303
kcooper@autismgreaterwi.org

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