Wings for All® Program Launches At Dane County Regional Airport

October 20, 2018
Brent S. Kyzer-McHenry 608-443-6096

**Photos/Video Available Upon Request

Madison WI – Dane County launched its first Wings for All® event at Dane County Regional Airport today, in partnership with Delta Air Lines, The Arc of the United States, the Transportation Security Administration, and The Arcs of Dane, Green, and Richland Counties.

“We’re honored to host our first Wings for Autism event at our Airport,” said Joe Parisi, County Executive. “Air travel can prove particularly challenging for families with children with autism and other disabilities. This on-going program will help to alleviate the stress these families may feel when they travel, and offer others across Dane County and south central Wisconsin an opportunity to enjoy a trip outside of Wisconsin.”

Wings for All® and Wings for Autism® is a national program by The Arc of the United States designed to alleviate some of the stress that families who have individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities including autism, experience when traveling by air. The program provides families with the opportunity to practice entering the airport, obtaining a boarding pass, going through security, and boarding a plane.

"Traveling creates added difficulties for individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities and their families. This program helps everyone feel more welcome and comfortable at our local airport," said Barb Hughes, Vice-President of The Arc of Dane County. “We appreciate all of the agencies that assisted in making this day a huge success.”

Wings for All also gives airport, airline, TSA professionals and other personnel the opportunity to observe, interact and deliver their services in a structured, learning environment. This experience is useful for families that have a member with an intellectual or developmental disability (I/DD) and are concerned about the ability of their family member to travel.

"Dane County Regional Airport, in partnership with TSA officials and Delta representatives is proud to help make Wings for All a success," said Airport Director Kim Jones. "We are proud to play a role in this important endeavor."

Families from across south central Wisconsin participated in the event today. The day started with arriving at the airport at 11:30 am. Upon arrival, event attendees checked in to receive their boarding pass, passed through security, and were greeted by Delta Air Line crew at the gate prior to boarding the plane. A small reception was held afterwards to celebrate the participant’s accomplishments.

“We are excited to bring the Wings for All® program to Dane County for the first time in the program’s history. For parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and other intellectual and developmental disabilities, everyday tasks can sometimes prove to be far more difficult for their child. Air travel can prove particularly challenging between clearing security, the overwhelming noises, and harsh lights. This program will not only continue to alleviate the stress children and their parents may feel, but further help educate airport and airline professionals about how best to serve children with autism or other intellectual and developmental disabilities in the future,” said Peter Berns, CEO of The Arc.