Autism Takes Flight at ILM

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Traveling long distances can be a stressful experience for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for families with children who have autism.

Coastal Autism Solutions, The Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health and the UNCW Department of Psychology sponsored the 6th annual Autism Takes Flight at Wilmington International Airport on Saturday.

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This event serves as a practice round for families who want to travel with their children. They handle boarding passes, check luggage, go through security and even board a plane, without actually taking off.

“It just gives our families of kids with autism or other developmental disabilities an opportunity to experience airline travel,” said Dr. Tom Cariveau, an assistant professor of psychology at University of North Carolina, Wilmington.

Parents like Sarah Thieling are thankful because it opens some doors for her family.



“I appreciate this because Simon [Thieling’s son] is scared of new things and trying new things,” Thieling said. “It’s a chance for us to actually practice this so that hopefully someday¬†we can go on a real trip on an airplane.”

Autism Takes Flight allows families to soar to heights that they’ve never reached before.