Lehigh Valley International Airport is providing a new space for passengers with sensory disabilities to visit the airport. The airport is partnering with The Arc of Lehigh and Northampton Counties to construct a sensory room for passengers with intellectual or developmental disabilities.
The room will include specialized flooring, low-frequency lighting, a mounted projector and other sensory equipment. It is currently under construction but expected to open next month.
The director development at the local Arc Bruce Seidel said, “This is the first airport sensory room in the northeast US, and only a few airports in the world have these types of rooms, said Bruce Seidel.”
The Arc partnered with Delta and opens a multi-sensory room in 2016 at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta, and Shannon Airport in Ireland.
Seidel said the rooms are also for those passengers who have post-traumatic stress disorder, or dementia.
The director of programs at The Arc, Joseph Mancini said the nonprofit raised a “significant amount of funds” to help outfit the room. His daughter Lillian, 9, was helping to spackle.
Passengers with sensory disorders face overwhelming hurdles at airports like loud noises, bright lights, crowds of people and close spaces, all before they even board a flight.
Mancini also added, The sensory room “really just allows the individual to desensitize,” and LVIA’s room is available to passengers before or after a flight.
Next month, LVIA is hosting its fourth annual “Wings for All” event with The Arc. The event is a national airport rehearsal program for people with autism or other developmental disabilities.