Houston Airport System launches app to help kids with intellectual, developmental disabilities

Cathy Hernandez takes a look at an app that helps travelers with disabilities.

HOUSTON – The Houston Airport System has launched a new app to help children with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“The waiting, all the monitors and the noise, sensory overload,” said Karl Singleton about what he faces in an airport.

Singleton was diagnosed with autism at three years old, but it doesn’t stop his love now for traveling.

“I want to be able to explore America. I want to be able to take as many flights as I can to as many cities as I can all across America,” said Singleton.

At times though, it was difficult.

“It was really hard. It was one of the more traumatic experiences that I had,” said his mother Cynthia Singleton.

To help those like Karl Singleton, Hobby and Bush Airports have a new app called Access Houston Airports.

“There are several different features, such as exploring guides which talk about all about the airport, airport rules, security check-in, finding a plane, taking off,” said Tim Jonie with the Houston Airport System. “Kids with developmental disabilities like to be able to know what’s next. They can check off what’s next.”

A collective effort that included Dory Cayten with The Arc of Greater Houston, an organization for people with disabilities.

“I just think it really takes away the anxiety and takes away some of those barriers that a family might experience,” said Cayten.

They’re the barriers the Singleton Family is breaking.

“It means we can have a life again, so it’s a big deal because we went four years without being able to fly and it’s because both of us were scared,” said Cynthia Singleton.

Through pictures, the app shows passengers what to expect from receiving a ticket to boarding a plane, a schedule checklist and a way to communicate to help those who are non-verbal.

The app is free to download. Download on Google Play. Download on Apple App Store.

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Reporter, family-oriented, sports fanatic, proud Houstonian.