3 travel accessibility kits for your summer vacation

Memorial Day is this weekend and that marks the beginning of the summer travel season. Easter Seals is headquartered in Chicago, and my co-workers and I know firsthand that O’Hare International Airport can be an overwhelming sensory experience for anyone, let alone someone with special needs.

Take our son Gus, for example. He has significant physical and mental disabilities, he’s 27 years old now, and he’s only flown with us twice. The first time, he was 2 years old. After the second time, when Gus was 10 years old, we vowed he’d never fly with us again.

Gus, Beth's Seeing Eye dog Hanni and Beth--in front of the Hank Aaron statue outside Miller Park on a  driving vacation to Milwaukee.

Me and Gus

Maybe we’ll rethink that vow now, though: the Autism Program of Illinois, Have Dreams and The Hope Institute for Children and Families have come together to create aviation accessibility kits they say could make the trip from ticket counter, through security, on to the gate and into the air easier for people with disabilities.

The kits lay out the steps involved in moving through an airport in words and pictures. They were made with the help of the Chicago Department of Aviation but are intended for use at many other airports across the country. The site also has links to a medical accessibility kit, library accessibility kits, and an accessibility kit for the Chicago Children’s Museum.

So like I said, who knows, maybe it’s worth another try. Airline tickets are getting more and more expensive, but hey, I can download the aviation accessibility kits for free. And if we decide on a staycation instead, we can check out a local library, or maybe the Chicago Children’s Museum.


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