Autistic children invited to try A320 simulator

The practice, or a kind of behavioral intervention, aims to help the children gain social and communication skills. 
Ti Gong

A China Southern Airlines captain teaches a local autistic boy how to pilot an Airbus 320 on simulator at the carrier's customer experience center in Hongqiao on Sunday.

Ten local teenagers with autism were invited to experience how to pilot Airbus 320 passenger aircraft on simulators at the customer experience center of China Southern Airlines on Sunday.

The teenagers accompanied by their parents were taught and guided by Li Dong, a senior captain with the airline to pilot on the simulator that has the major buttons and operating sticks in a cockpit.

The practice, or a kind of behavioral intervention, aims to help the children gain social and communication skills. The event is organized to mark the incoming Children's Day which falls on Friday this year, the Guangzhou-based carrier said.

"I never took my son to take a flight for fear of the strange atmosphere in the air and the curious gaze of other passengers," said the mother of one of the participants to the event. "But I can feel he is happy to participate in such semi-open experience event today," she said.

Each participant received a boarding pass with their names on it from the flight attendants. They were invited to experience the first-class cabin and learn how to fasten seat belt. Several teenagers who showed a great interest were offered to dress up in the uniforms of crew members and try how to serve others.

Ti Gong

Flight attendants teach a local autistic boy the boarding process at the carrier's customer experience center in Hongqiao on Sunday.

"These autistic children had few eye contact with others," said Jiang Wen, a teacher with a local organization named Blue Ribbon who guided the children to take part in the event at the center on Sunday. "Although there is no known cure, there have been cases of children who have recovered from the condition with early behavioral interventions," she said.

Jiang asked more companies and social groups to hold such partially open events to help the children get involved into the society.

China Southern has explained to the parents how to book flight tickets for the autistic teenagers and green channels are offered to passengers with autism during the booking and boarding.

The center on 789 Tianshan Rd W. was the first of its kind established in China by the Asia’s largest airline in terms of both fleet size and the passengers volume. The center is free and open daily between 9am and 5pm.


Special Reports
Top