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Empowering our Neurodiverse Community

YVR is a leading airport in neurodiverse accessibility thanks to our community partnerships with Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN) and Canucks Autism Network (CAN). Through significant engagement with the leaders of the autism community, YVR has developed thorough and practical guides to support autistic passengers and their families while traveling. YVR is proud to work with PAFN and CAN to make our airport a more welcoming and accessible place for all passengers. To directly access resources click here, or learn more about our investments at work below.

Skills training for Individuals, Families and YVR Airport Employees

On top of the natural stress associated with traveling, autistic individuals may experience sensory processing differences while in an airport. Through the creation of free resources, in addition to annual accessibility tours, autistic individuals and their families can feel prepared for their next trip by using checklists, videos and information booklets created by our autism community partners. A large part of preparing autistic individuals and their families for travel is by providing the appropriate support and accommodations throughout the airport experience.

Pacific Autism Family Network

Pacific Autism Family Network

To better serve the neurodiverse community, PAFN and YVR are creating courses for autistic passengers to take in advance to build confidence during the check-in process, while going through security, boarding an airplane, and returning through Canada Customs. 
Beyond travelling, YVR supports the economic empowerment of individuals in the neurodiverse community by partnering with PAFN to open Paper Planes Café in domestic arrivals, level 2. Paper Planes Café is more than just a coffee shop, it's a place where adults with diverse abilities can gain real-world, paid training and employment experience. Click here to learn more.

YVR works with PAFN to provide training for employees in the many different roles at YVR including frontline staff including our Guest Experience team, Green Coat Volunteers, YVR's Fire and Rescue first responders and partners like RCMP to ensure a supportive seamless guest experience.


Canucks Autism Network

Canucks Autism Network Logo

Each year, YVR and CAN welcome autistic youth and their families to Vancouver International Airport for an Autism Accessibility Tour.

The tour provides an opportunity for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families to experience and rehearse the entire pre-flight process including checking-in, going through security, and boarding an Air North aircraft for a simulated take-off. 

Due to anxiety and sensory sensitivities, individuals on the autism spectrum can become overwhelmed by the airport environment and the often lengthy and unpredictable pre-flight experience. The airport rehearsal helps to reduce barriers to air travel by preparing families and autistic individuals for what to expect, making the airport a less stressful and more predictable environment.

YVR employees are proud to volunteer at this event to help create such a special and meaningful experience for autistic youth and their families, helping to provide the opportunity for individuals on the spectrum and their families confidently navigate the airport, opening up a world of air travel opportunities. 

Beyond the tour, YVR and CAN joined forces to create an Autism Resource Kit that features a step-by-step storybook, interactive checklist, airport map and tips for travel, as well as a video series that helps travelers on the spectrum prepare for flight.

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