Wings for Autism provides traveling practice for those with disabilities; Linthicum
Maryland Gazette - 1/20/2018
The Arc Baltimore hosted its Wings for Autism event Jan. 13, at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport. One of Arc's newest national initiatives, the program provides adult and children with disabilities the opportunity to experience one of the most stressful parts of traveling, in a non-stressful environment.
About 50 families across Maryland were invited to practice just about all of the aspects of airline travel, from parking and shuttling to the airport terminal to checking in, going through security, boarding the aircraft and interacting with airport personnel along the way, without actually taking off.
Participants were also able to board a plane in which flight attendants offered typical pre-flight instructions and simulated some aspects of the flight. They then departed the airplane and collected their luggage.
The experience is aimed at helping people who may have a difficult time with the loud noises and harsh lights that are common at airports, adjust and become more familiar with the process. It also benefits airport personnel to learn how to best serve individuals with autism or developmental or intellectual disabilities.
For Christine Towne, 30, of Baltimore, Wings of Autism means a chance for her family to travel together again.
"Flying was challenging for me and I hadn't been able to fly for 10 years," said Christine. "We were looking for this kind of event for a while, so when we heard it was available in our area we quickly signed up."
Before joining Wings for Autism, traveling to visit their family out west was a hardship for the Towne family, as they were limited to long road trips, which required Christine's parents
to take large amounts of time off from work. But when the family had to make short visits, Christine and one of her parents would often have to stay home.
"Finally, after this event, we were able to travel together as a family to several events, and Christine is looking forward to more visits with extended family," said Christine's mother, Ann.
Karen Maxwell and her nine-year-old twin daughters Tiffany and Sierra also attended the event. Maxwell hopes the experience gives her children the confidence they'll need to make the traveling process smoother, when the time comes.
"It was an excellent opportunity to have my children perform a practice run as if we were traveling by air," she said. "This will let them be familiar with the process to overcome some anxiety with traveling."
For more information about Wings for Autism and Arc, visit https://www.thearc.org/wingsforautism.
The GFWC Woman's Club of Linthicum Heights will hold a Regift Bingo at its evening Monthly Meeting Jan. 22 at 7 p.m. at its clubhouse, 110 N. Hammonds Ferry Road. Each guest who brings a gift they would like to share for the bingo prize, with a price value between $15 and $30, will receive a pack of bingo cards. Additional cards will be available for $5 a pack.
The group will play as many games as possible in about an hour-and-a-half. Any prizes remaining will be raffled off at the end of the evening.
The Woman's Club hosts general meetings on the second Tuesday of each month at 10:30 a.m. It also holds evening meetings on the fourth Monday of the month at 7 p.m. for those who can't attend the early meeting. For more informtaion, call Anita Dragan at (410) 292-1144.
The Catholic Daughters of America and the Cursillo Movement of Baltimore will host a Purse and Bag Bingo Jan. 27 at 7 pm at St. Philip Neri School. Doors open at 6 pm. The event will feature 20 games, three specials, two raffles, door prizes and more. Tickets are $20 in advance and $25 at the door.
St. Philip Neri School will hold an open house Jan. 28,10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Guests can meet the faculty and tour the building. Guests are also invited to attend the church's mass at 9:30 am, in which the St. Philip Neri School chorus will lead the congregation in song.
For more information contact Sue Wenzlick at (410) 850-5680 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Email your Linthicum news to Heather Vecchioni at email@example.com.
Credit: Heather Vecchioni
Caption: Nine-year-old twins Tiffany (left) and Sierra Maxwell attended the Wings for Autism event Jan. 13 at BWI Thurgood Marshall airport.