For those on the autism spectrum, travel by plane can be especially difficult, since besides the change in routine, there are unfamiliar situations, noises, hustle, bustle and rules to maneuver. For those traveling within the United States, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has a department called TSA Cares, which is, as per their website, “a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process.”
If you’re planning to fly from a U.S.-based airline and have special needs, or are traveling with someone who does, as per TSA, “Call 72 hours prior to traveling with questions about screening policies, procedures and what to expect at the security checkpoint.” (contact information is on their website) Furthermore, “Travelers requiring special accommodations or concerned about the security screening process at the airport may ask a TSA officer or supervisor for a passenger support specialist who can provide on-the-spot assistance.”
To help those on the autism spectrum who are preparing for a flight, the TSA has posted the following video on Twitter:
Accompanying print from the video page:
“Are you or someone you know on the Autism Spectrum and preparing for a flight? Watch and learn on what to expect during airport security screening if you or someone you know have communication, social interaction and/or have sensory sensitivities. TSA Cares is a helpline that provides travelers with disabilities, medical conditions and other special circumstances additional assistance during the security screening process. Call 72 hours prior to your travel at (855) 787-2227 or federal relay 711 on weekdays, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET and weekends/holidays, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET. For more information on travel and to print your own notification card to present to the TSA officer for accommodations during security screening, visit tsa.gov.”
The TSA gets a lot of abuse from us, the flying public; sometimes with good reason, sometimes maybe not so much. But that set aside, I applaud their work to help make air travel a little easier for those on the autism spectrum.
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