At the end of last month, Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT) opened an autism-friendly space in its Concourse A. As written by Lonely Planet, the 500-square-foot space “includes a family area, private rooms and an American Airlines cabin—away from the noise, crowds and announcements—so that passengers prepare for the in-flight experience in a way that’s not so intimidating.”
It’s called Presley’s Place, named for the four-year-old son of the man who came up with the idea. That man is PIT airport heavy equipment operator Jason Rudge, who proposed an autism-friendly space in a letter to airport CEO Christina Cassotis. Rudge’s son Presley has autism, and he knew the difference that such a space could make. “A caregiver for a kid with autism might think ‘I’m never going to be able to fly anywhere with my family—it’s too hard to travel with someone with autism,’” he said in a statement. “Having a sensory room at the airport changes that thinking to ‘Maybe we can take that trip after all.'”
For more on Presley’s Place, see this page and watch the video below:
More autism-friendly airport spaces
PIT is not the first airport to invest in autism-friendly spaces and services. Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM) opened its own sensory room earlier this year. Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport (ATL), meanwhile, has had a multi-sensory room since 2016. As Wendy noted on Twitter, Lehigh Valley International Airport (ABE) has one, too. And in the U.K., London’s Gatwick Airport (LGW) has one in its Northern Terminal.
For more autism travel help:
- How to Make Travel Easier for Children With Autism
- 6 autism-friendly airports parents and caregivers should know about – Today’s Parent
- Open Sky for Autism, a free event series in Los Angeles for families with autism
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