Page last updated at 02:55 GMT, Thursday, 2 April 2009 03:55 UK

Autism guide for airport travel

A child going through security checks at Manchester airport
Unfamiliar environments can be stressful for autistic children

An information guide to help adults travelling with autistic children has been produced by Manchester Airport.

Airport Awareness uses images to show what to expect on a journey from arriving to checking-in, to going through security and returning home.

Airport press officer Katy Gough created the guide after several requests by carers for airport pictures to help children plan their trip.

The guide is free and launched to coincide with World Autism Day.

The unfamiliar sights and sounds of the airport can cause stress and worry for young autistic passengers and their families, she said.

'Alien environment'

Ms Gough has personal experience of the disorder through a member of her family and wanted to help passengers whose children have Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

"The main problems are that the airport environment is an alien one and processes such as check-in and security require co-operation with strict guidelines," Ms Gough said.

"However, by including chronological information in the guide about each stage of travelling through the airport and by illustrating the guide with photographs, parents are able to plan their journey with their child, helping them to understand what to expect."

The free guide is available from the information desks, airport website and has been supplied to local autism charities and schools with special needs units.

Jane Asher, President of the National Autistic Society, said of the book: "I'm delighted by Manchester Airport's useful and understanding initiative. An airport can be a very confusing place for anyone, and for someone on the autism spectrum it can be especially frightening and disorientating."



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