Airport employees need to be prepared to handle any situation. They train regularly for all sorts of scenarios. As our Katie Husband tells us, personnel at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport are now equipped to handle a potential uncomfortable situation.
BIG FLATS, N.Y. -- About two dozen employees at the regional airport in Chemung County sat through training. But it wasn't the usual security or driving training. It was on autism.
"We see thousands of people here and anything is possible. It's highly likely that we're encountering that and we're not even aware of it," said Terry Wheet, Senior Operations Officer at the Elmira Corning Regional Airport.
Which is why AIM Independent Living Center reached out to the Elmira Corning Regional Airport to offer a Disability and Autism Awareness training session.
"Recognize any type of, where the child is getting agitated or if they're feeling a little bit uncomfortable it can give them a bit of a heads up that maybe we need to ask more questions," said Charlotte Smith with AIM Independent Living Center.
Employees listened to a mother who has two autistic children and became more aware of what to expect from an individual with the disorder.
"The motions, the movement, the behavioral issues that you might say that person is misbehaving and now you would say, there might be an autism problem and be a little more receptive to their actions," said Wheet.
After sitting through the presentation, airport personnel now have a better understanding on how to evaluate a situation if they are faced with an autistic passenger.
"I want to stand and evaluate it and ask myself, 'could this be that? What should I do, or not do,'" said Wheet.
Smith says the goal of the training was to get the employees more comfortable with asking questions if they are not sure when faced with an autistic child.