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GRIA: New Initiative Aims to Better Serve Passengers with Disabilities

A new initiative is aiming to enhance the flying experience for people with disabilities.

"Traveling can be a very, very difficult experience," says Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.

The program is called "ROC Your Flight". It offers children and adults with special needs an opportunity to learn, in advance, what services are available to them before traveling by air.

"The goals of this program is to make sure a child, an autistic child, a child with special needs knows what to expect. Feels what it's like to go through security. Knows who the people at the airport are...identify this is the security location, [and] actually get on the airplane and see what an airplane experience is all about."

Brooks says hopefully this will ease any fears and anxieties they may have. Barbara Wale, the CEO of the Arc of Monroe, says people with disabilities often need extra time to get through the airport and learn about it.

"We don't think a minute about it. We take off our shoes. We go through making sure we have our bag out with the toiletries. We know how to do that. People with disabilities need to learn how to do that. This program teaches them how to do that."

One class is being held Saturday, January 25th. Other courses are scheduled for early spring, summer and early fall.

For additional information, and to sign up for the program, the public can contact the Arc of Monroe.

The program is a partnership between the Greater Rochester International Airport, Arc of Monroe and TSA.