New program lets kids with autism enjoy an air-travel trial run

May 01, 2013
  • Clinical supervisor Taeja Klug, from far left, gets Jacob Sanchez, 7, to respond to JetBlue chief pilot James Daulton, far right, during Jet Blue, Pacific Child and Family and TSA's "Wings for Autism" program, which took place at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on Saturday, May 4, 2013. "When you have events for kids with autism like this, it brings the anxiety down," Jennifer Slater-Sanchez said. Jennifer is the mother of Jacob who was diagnosed with autism as a three-year-old.
Clinical supervisor Taeja Klug, from far left, gets Jacob… (Cheryl A. Guerrero…)

For families with autistic children, the stress and anxiety of air travel is a unique challenge – which is why JetBlue is partnering with Bob Hope Airport in Burbank to give those families a chance for an air-travel dress rehearsal.

JetBlue’s Wings For Autism program is coming to the West Coast for the first time and it hold a trial run from 1 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the airport.

PHOTOS: Wings for Autism comes to California for first time at Bob Hope Airport

The program, which was started in Boston three years ago, allows families with autistic children to practice air travel, from checking in and security screenings to boarding a plane and meeting pilots and the flight crew.

The experience allows tchildren with autism spectrum disorders  to acclimate themselves to the process, allowing them to have confidence to handle the hustle and bustle of an airport and plane ride.


Families who are interested in participating can contact Christine Choe at JetBlue – or Arpi Arabian with Pacific Child and Family at

-- Daniel Siegal,

Follow on Google+ and on Twitter: @Daniel_Siegal.

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