Air Hollywood: Flying the Friendly Skies

brace positionThe tagline for this blog begins with the words “aviation” and “autism,” and to say the least it is difficult to find ways of integrating the two topics.   A company called “Air Hollywood” has now made it easy.

Air Hollywood is not an airline per se; it is, as their name might suggest, kind of a fictitious, Hollywood airline.   Their business focuses on providing sets for the entertainment industry, including interiors of any kind of airplane you can imagine, cockpits, terminals, gates, etc., as well as stock footage and almost anything imaginable that is needed for movies and is aviation-related.   You have seen their work in films such as “Flight,” “Wolf of Wall Street,” and “Kill Bill” as well as hundreds of others.

Recently, Air Hollywood took on a new project.   They have decided to offer classes on preparing children and adults for the entire commercial-aviation related gamut of challenges that face them.    Over-stimulation at check-in areas, fluorescent lights, airport waiting areas and queues, boarding airplanes, and sitting in a confined airplane, all can pose challenges to those with autism.  They call their program “Open Sky for Autism,” and it is being offered for free.  It promises to help acclimate those with autism by using supervised repetition during simulations of airport arrival, ticketing, check-in, baggage check, TSA screening, boarding, in-flight simulation, and deboarding.   They even do one better than the “real” airlines, and offer complimentary lunch and refreshments!   Their opening event is scheduled for April 5th.  Here’s the link:

If you have been following either this or my last blog for a while, you know that I am more than intrigued by people who do good things when they don’t have to.    I don’t know the folks at Air Hollywood, but I do know that for whatever their reasons they have decided to do something good for a chunk of humanity that needs it, something that is frankly difficult to do and outside what a typical therapeutic agency or clinic has the means to do.

Every religious tradition with which I am familiar preaches charity.   Growing up, I learned that the yields on the corners of each of your agricultural fields should be left for the hungry and poor.   I applaud any company that uses its resources to do good.



5 thoughts on “Air Hollywood: Flying the Friendly Skies

  1. This is quite incredible! Years ago, I used to go to airports with both “spectrum” and typical airline phobic clients, even getting on planes and having them speak a bit with the captain. I wouldn’t even begin to attempt this in today’s environment. I’m aware of some virtual reality programs that address a small part of the airline experience, but it pales in comparison to what you’ve described. And yes, the “free” aspect of this is no small deal. I’ve had clients who develop the urge to say “bomb” while waiting in line to be checked by TSA and had more than one client who has an altercations with in-flight personnel (fortunately, no arrests). I don’t know how you learned about this, but am quite grateful for the information.

    • Dr. Gale. I’m the CEO and Founder of Air Hollywood, during my travel I saw a family struggling during TSA area to have their young child go through metal detector… it was embarrassing and challenging for the family, the line was long, people were frustrated. It hit that I could do something to help these families. I have worked for months working on this program with my staff and now I’m happy to say that April 5th session is full of great families that want to come and experience the travel without stress.
      Thank you for your post

  2. I am working with Air Hollywood on this project and we are planning for a great event. We are also creating social stories for the various sets that participants can upload to their iPad/ipod for use on that day and in the future. We are looking to schedule additional opportunities in the future. And “yes” the people of Air Hollywood are wonderful people.

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