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Monday, October 29, 2012

Making Skies Friendly For Individuals With Autism; VCU Gets Grant To Expand Work Training; Yoga Helps Improve Behavior

"Different But Not Less."...Temple Grandin

Making Skies Friendly For Individuals With Autism

Preparing for air travel and the flight itself can cause a lot of anxiety for both the individual with autism and for parents.  For many parents, it can be a challenge in parental endurance.

The good news is airports throughout the nation have recognized these challenges and are providing more assistance. To date, the major airports in the following cities provide services to help individuals with autism: Washington, D.C.; Atlanta; Boston; Manchester NH; Bridgeport, Conn.; Philadelphia and Newark. The airlines participating include Jet Blue, AirTran, Continental, Frontier, Southwest and United.  These airports and airlines have offered "mock boarding" experiences, practice in purchasing tickets, walk throughs at security lines and even strapping themselves into the aircraft that does not leave the gate.

"We recognize how intimidating to some people, particularly those with special needs, a facility like this can be, " said Christopher Browne, manager at Washington Dulles airport.

In addition, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has set up a hot line---TSA Cares---to help passengers with disabilities and their caretakers.

The following suggestions will help in minimizing anxiety prior to flying:

  • For the initial flight, pick a short one. Up to an hour.
  • Visit the airport ahead of time to become familiar with the facility.
  • Call the TSA Cares hot line---1.855.787.2227---72 hours prior to flight time to alert TSA that you might need assistance.
  • Call the airline ahead of time to let them know you might need assistance.
  • Tell your child what to expect such as delays or long waits.
  • Pack a carry-on bag with items the individual likes.
Have a nice and safe flight.
NY Times

Virginia Commonwealth University Received Grant To Facilitate Employment For Youth With Autism

VCU announced recently they received a $2.5 million grant from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research to determine best practices to facilitate employment for youth with autism.

The grant's duration is 5 years. "Through our partnership with VCU on this grant, we expect to learn more about the services and supports that youth with autism may need to become successfully employed in their communities, " said Commissioner Jim Rothrock, VA Department of Aging and Rehabilitative Services.
VCU News

Yoga Helps Improve Behavior Of Children With Autism

New York University reported children with autism who practice yoga behaved better in  elementary school than those children who did not practice yoga.

"We know that anxiety fuels a lot of negative behavior so the yoga program gives them a strategy to cope with it," said Kristie Patten Koenig, assistant professor of occupational therapy at NYU.

Early research reports that yoga exercises help children better concentrate, improves their social skills and motor coordination.

The NYU yoga program is currently being implemented in 500 classrooms in New York City among students 5-21 years of age.

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