Travelling can be stressful at the best of times.
And for people on the spectrum or travelling with children or family members with autism, it can be reassuring to know what supports are available before diving into different and high-stress environments.
Airports are definitely up there when it comes to anxiety-inducing spots, but Cork Airport has taken several steps in making their terminals more ASD-friendly and most recently has finished constructing a sensory pod in the belly of the airport.
A sensory pod is a calming and relaxing space for both children and adults, typically used in special needs and mainstream schools, universities, hospitals, libraries as well as airports, and family homes. The pod helps to prevent and manage the disruption caused by sensory overload through pre-emptive usage when anxiety is starting to bubble.
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Cork Airport’s sensory pod features items such as padded walls and benches, ambient mood lighting, mirrors and an aquatic bubble tube.
The pod follows initiatives such as the sunflower lanyard, which passengers with hidden disabilities such as autism can avail of.
The discreet identification scheme is instantly recognisable by staff and provides those with hidden disabilities the opportunity to avail of additional support from airport staff at the airport. Other supports include Suzie books, visual guides, and a picture exchange communication system (PECS).
The pod is located upstairs in the departure lounge and can be accessed once you go through security.
To find out more about the supports available at Cork Airport, visit their website here.