12 August 2019

Airport helps family with ASD child

A family holiday sounds great right? Time away from work and other stresses of life to just enjoy the company of loved ones, relax and have fun... sounds amazing yes? 

Stephanie and Brenden Moffat from Tauranga thought the same and planned an exciting family trip to the Gold Coast to visit the fun parks with the kids and enjoy a well-needed break. At a Parent to Parent coffee group, Stephanie shared how her excitement soon turned into stress for all she could imagine was her autistic son Aiden, having a five-hour meltdown on the plane.

Parent to Parent Coastal Bay of Plenty Regional Coordinator Jane Ford jumped into action and immediately sought help from the staff at Tauranga Airport. Before Stephanie had even reached home from her coffee group, the wonderful airport staff had organised a meeting with the family where Aiden could have a pre-flight experience. Airport and health and safety polices would normally make this a very difficult task but by chance there was a plane scheduled to stay on the ground for the next 24 hours.

Airport staff member Fiona met with Aiden and Stephanie the following day where they got to walk over the runway and meet with a Pilot who gave a guided tour of the plane.  Aiden got to sit in the seats, check out the cockpit, the bathroom and was given a run-down of what to expect during the flight.

Stephanie says “The experience was fantastic, the staff were just wonderful and our family are now very excited about the trip.”

Many thanks to Fiona and the Tauranga Airport management team Chris and Ray who made all of this possible and are willing to provide this opportunity again to other kids with special needs wanting to travel.

Does your child have an interest in planes and aviation? Classic Flyers Museum offer tours of the airport. Visit their website www.classicflyersnz.com for more info.

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