Edinburgh Airport has become the first Scottish airport to gain the Autism friendly status, after being recognised for its accessible and supportive environment for passengers with autism.
The airport has recently implemented and improved its facilities for those on the autistic spectrum, a decision which has had an extremely positive effect. Improvements include additional training for staff to aid more effectively, as well as an Edinburgh Airport Social Story in a bid to help children prepare for their journey. Whatsmore, there’s also the option to visit the airport ahead of their scheduled flight to familiarise themselves with the layout and sights at the airport.
The Scottish airport also created a discreet lanyard and pin badge system that has been created to help identify passengers with potential hidden disabilities
Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, Gordon Dewar said: “Airports can be extremely busy places and that can be quite daunting for people with additional needs, especially if they rely on a routine which a place like an airport can upset.
“We’ve looked at that and considered where we could make simple but effective changes to make the journey through Edinburgh Airport as easy as possible for those with autism and other additional needs.
“Our staff and partners have worked together to provide this service and this award is a clear indication of our commitment to make Edinburgh as accessible as possible for the 13 million passengers who use the airport every year.
In accordance with Airport Parking Shop’s article on autism within airports, Edinburgh joins other UK airports such as Manchester, Gatwick and Newcastle who have recently improved their focus on autism awareness. The article goes into depth explaining how other UK airports are also starting to use techniques such as “autism friendly trained staff”, discreet lanyards for special need requirements and information booklets to help ease passengers experience using the airport visit.
Kim Gibbons travels through Edinburgh Airport regularly with her son, Ryan who has autism. She said:
“Places like airports can cause Ryan distress due to the high number of people and different noises so we have always been wary of travelling, but the fantastic assistance we receive from the staff at Edinburgh Airport has helped make the situation easier.
“Knowing we have that support means we now travel more regularly as the staff know us very well and have created a good relationship with Ryan, which also helps his journey through the airport.”
Seven-year-old Ryan added: “I really like airports and aeroplanes so it’s really exciting when I come to the airport to go away, and the people who help us through the airport are very helpful and friendly.”