Pittsburgh, PA –The Pittsburgh International Airport has unveiled one of the world’s largest, most comprehensive airport sensory spaces, designed for families flying with loved ones on the autism.
Air travel is stressful, and it can be especially difficult for individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental challenges. The airport sensory spaces offer a calming respite for travelers with sensory processing issues and their families to de-escalate prior to getting on a plane or even after landing.
Airport officials said the sensory room idea came from an airport employee, Jason Rudge, whose 4-year-old son Presley has autism and for whom the room is named. Rudge and his family will attend the suite’s grand opening.
“The difference was like night and day after he went into a sensory room,” said Jason Ridge, Presley’s dad. “He’d come out of the sensory room and be ready to interact with others.”
Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson airport was the first airport to open a sensory room in 2016, with Shannon Airport in Ireland opening one a year later. New sensory rooms opened at Miami International and Birmingham Airport over the past few months.