Gatwick celebrates World Autism Awareness Day

Staff from the airport and more than 30 families came to the event on Tuesday (April 4). Picture: Sara Marchant

Gatwick Airport celebrated World Autism Awareness Day on Tuesday (April 4).

Staff from across the airport came together, including police, firefighters and immigration officers, to show their support.

The event was designed to give children and adults with autism and their carers and families an overview of airport processes before they travel. Picture: Sara Marchant

More than 30 families attended the event, designed to give children and adults with autism and their carers and families an overview of airport processes before they travel.

Maria Cook, Gatwick’s autism ambassador, said: “I am so proud to be Gatwick’s autism ambassador and to play a part in the airport’s Hidden Disability Assistance Programme and official autism friendly accreditation.

“I hope to see other UK airports follow Gatwick’s lead and establish official autism-friendly programmes of their own.

“The number of people in organisations across the airport who have volunteered their free time to be part of the awareness day has been overwhelming, from those working for airlines and security, to the emergency services, special assistance and terminal teams.

World Autism Awareness Day was on April 2. Picture: Sara Marchant

“Across the board everyone involved wants to pro-actively improve their provision for people with autism.

“It has been a mammoth team effort behind the scenes to make this day happen and I would like to thank everyone involved.”

Travelling through an airport can be a challenge for people affected by autism and the event held in the North Terminal allowed families to ‘check in’, ride on assistance buggies, meet trained security dogs and the police, watch the x-ray machines in action and talk with staff about travelling with autism.

Anyone who requires assistance when travelling through Gatwick is encouraged to contact the airport’s special assistance team or their airline.

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