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Kelowna airport teams up with Canucks Autism Network to increase accessibility

Kelowna Capital News - 11/9/2018

The Kelowna airport and Canucks Autism Network are teaming up to increase accessibility at the airport.

On Sunday, Nov. 18, CAN and Kelowna International Airport (YLW) will be hosting the second annual YLW Accessibility Tour for families living with autism. Held from 2 to 4:30 p.m. in the YLW WestJet check-in area, more than 70 individuals are expected at the event, according to a City of Kelowna news release.

Due to anxiety or sensory sensitivities, air travel can present significant challenges for individuals with autism. The tour will take families through the entire pre-flight process, including check-in, security, finding their gate and boarding a plane.

Families will also receive Resource Kits with tools to better prepare for air travel, including an activity storybook, step-by-step checklist, tips for travel and an airport map. In addition to being given out at this month's tour, the kits are available at any time for individuals and families with autism departing from YLW, the release said.

The program also aims to educate airport employees and volunteers on how to accommodate individuals with autism and better anticipate challenging situations.

"We are thrilled to build off the success of last year's inaugural Accessibility Tour at YLW," said Katy Harandi, CAN's president and chief executive officer. "By making air travel more accessible, individuals and families living with autism can experience a new world of possibilities."

Originally developed with Vancouver International Airport (YVR) in 2014, CAN successfully launched the program at YLW in 2017. In addition to be hosted by CAN and YLW, the YLW Accessibility Tour is offered in collaboration with the Canadian Air Transport Security Authority (CATSA), WestJet and Autism Okanagan, the release said.

 
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