Program helps people with disabilities fly

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) – Travelling can often be stressful, but for people with autism or other intellectual disabilities, flying can also cause panic.

That’s why a new program is aiming to help both these individuals and their families to become more comfortable up in the air.

“Wings for All” came to the Chippewa Valley Regional Airport on Saturday to give these individuals a chance to experience the airport in a more relaxed setting.

The program helps them and their families get plane tickets, go through security and board a plane in a way that feels comfortable.

Turbulence, loud announcements and warnings on the plane can cause sensory overload for people with special needs.

Practicing the experience while learning how to manage some of the more overwhelming parts of flying can help these families be able to make more memories later on.

“Travel can really change people’s lives,” said Lisa Chady, owner of Chady Travel, a program sponsor. “There’s lots of reasons why people might want to travel: just having a vacation, going to see family in another state. Those things can be easy for some of us, but they’re very difficult for others. This practice program makes it something that people can do.”

Wings for all doesn’t just help these families, but also airport and TSA workers by teaching them how to accommodate any and all travelers.

Mary Pautsch

Mary Pautsch

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