MSO airport named national leader in being ‘sensory inclusive’
(Missoula Current) For those with certain disabilities, the Missoula Montana Airport makes travel a little easier.
The airport this week was named a “sensory inclusive” facility by KultureCity, making it just one of four airports in the country to win such certification. The measures scored in the ranking focus on creating sensory accessibility and inclusion for those with non-visible disabilities.
“This is a continuation of the airport’s overall initiative to create a facility that is welcoming, inclusive, intuitive and easy to navigate for individuals of all abilities.” deputy airport director Tim Damrow said in a statement on Tuesday.
Sensory sensitivities, or challenges with sensory regulation, are often experienced by individuals with autism, dementia, PTSD and other conditions. One barrier includes sensitivity to noise and over-stimulating environments, which travelers know can be a major part of an airport experience.
But with its new certification, the Missoula airport is better prepared to assist travelers with sensory sensitivities in having the most comfortable and accommodating experience possible.
Prior to their visit, families and individuals can download the free Kulture City App to view what sensory features are available and where they can access them, including how to get a KultureCity Sensory Bag.
Also on the App is the Social Story, which will provide a customized visual preview of what to expect while visiting the airport.
“One of the goals of the design of the new airport terminal was to make it easier for travelers to navigate the airport,” said Larry Anderson, chair of the Missoula Airport Authority. “With the help of KultureCity, airport staff have taken the extra initiative and training to help those travelers with hidden disabilities to reduce their stress when visiting the airport.”
The airport also is pursuing a separate initiative under the Sunflower Program. The certification would offer additional education for airport staff in making the facility “dementia friendly.”
“We were honored to partner with the entire Missoula Airport team on how to make MSO more accessible to persons with non-visible disabilities,” said Marjorie Doyle with Dementia Friendly Missoula. “The airport planned for, and implemented, many of our recommendations for policies and practices in their beautiful new terminal.”