Extra training and measures to help people with autism cope has been recognised
Edinburgh has become the first airport in Scotland to achieve an autism friendly award in recognition of the accessible and supportive environment created for autistic passengers.
The accolade recognises assistance measures put in place at the airport to improve the experience for people on the autism spectrum as well as their families or carers.
Busy airports are challenging for people with autism and bosses at the airport have introduced a number to help mitigate this including additional training for staff, an Edinburgh Airport specific Social Story to help children prepare for the journey and a pre-visit to the airport to familiarise.
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.”
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.”
Jenny Paterson, director of the National Autistic Society Scotland added: “The airport is very deserving of our Autism Friendly Award and has demonstrated its commitment to ensuring autistic visitors are supported and know what to expect when they transit though Scotland’s busiest airport.”