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NEWS Last modified on October 20, 2016

Specialist dogs enjoy day out at Dublin Airport

Pictured is Mandy Packenham with Vonnie, James McQuirk with Zebedee, Laura Sullivan with Harper and Michelle Harris with Bebo. Pictured is Mandy Packenham with Vonnie, James McQuirk with Zebedee, Laura Sullivan with Harper and Michelle Harris with Bebo.

A troupe of eight specialist dogs who are in training to assist people with autism recently visited Dublin Airport on a familiarisation and socialisation visit.

All were accompanied by their minders from My Canine Companion, a national charity which provides highly trained and skilled service dogs to children and young adults living with autism.

The visit was aimed partly at familiarising the dogs with a busy airport environment.

Their presence also highlighted Dublin Airport’s Important Flyer Autism Programme which provides special lanyards and wristbands to passengers in need of specific assistance.

Dublin Airport first published an Autism Visual Guide in 2008, which received excellent feedback from parents planning on travelling through Dublin Airport.  

“For any person with autism, travelling through an airport can be a daunting experience,” said daa's customer experience manager, Liz Kavanagh.

“The feedback from families in regard to the assistance they have received at Dublin Airport has been very positive, they are really grateful for the Important Flyer Autism programme.”

The specialist dogs visiting Dublin Airport will be fully trained before going to a family with somebody who has autism. If that person is travelling, they can be accompanied by their dog, which will be familiar with the airport environment as a result of the training initiative.

Dublin Airport was recently named the Best Airport in Europe for accessibility at the 2016 ACI Europe Awards.

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