Pittsburgh International Airport recently unveiled a very special space—a sensory room for children and adults with autism and other neurodevelopmental needs!

The room, named Presley’s Place, is the brainchild of airport employee Jason Rudge. Rudge, who works as a heavy equipment operator, got the idea from his son Presley. The four-year-old is on the autism spectrum and, according to his parents, struggles with changes in his routine which certainly doesn’t make flying easy.

The new space includes a realistic cabin experience (courtesy of American Airlines and Magee Plastics), private soundproof spaces, adjustable lighting, a transitional space between the concourse and room, a sensory-friendly restroom, adult changing stations, adjustable sinks, calming activities and comfortable seating.

The Pittsburgh International Airport’s website describes Presley’s Place as, “A calming respite for travelers with sensory processing issues and their families to de-escalate prior to getting on a plane or even after landing.” The web description also adds, “To best understand the needs of the community, we brought together advocacy groups, individuals and caregivers of children with neurodevelopmental challenges to share their experiences and offer suggestions for the room’s design.”

Presley’s Place isn’t the only way Pittsburgh International Airport makes traveling easier. The airport also has a Military Lounge for members of the military and their families and a nursing lounge!

—Erica Loop

Featured photo: Pittsburgh International Airport via YouTube



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