PARSIPPANY, NJ--(Marketwired - Sep 30, 2013) - Treasured memories are often created on family vacations. For some families with a child affected by autism, taking a vacation, especially if it means traveling by air, is not always possible due to the fear of the response it could elicit from their child. The large crowds, loud noises and communication difficulties make air travel challenging.
Wishes by Wyndham, the philanthropic foundation of Wyndham Worldwide (
"As a hospitality and leisure-based company, we are committed to helping our customers make great memories at exciting and wonderful destinations around the world," said Stephen P. Holmes, chairman and chief executive officer, Wyndham Worldwide. "We are proud to be a part of such an impactful program that opens up the world to great vacations and traveling by airplane to those that would not otherwise feel comfortable doing so."
The program gives families in the autism community a chance to practice the full airport and airplane experience in a real-life setting, surrounded by other families affected by autism. At the event, families check-in, walk through security and board the plane at the gate. The plane then pulls away from the gate and back into a neighboring gate so participants are able to experience the plane in motion. The importance of providing not only training and support to the person with autism and their families, but also to airport, airline and TSA personnel is crucial to facilitate a better experience for all.
Pavan Mehta understands firsthand the difficulty of traveling with children with autism. The father of five, two of whom have been diagnosed with autism, appreciates Wyndham Worldwide's support of the initiative because it can unlock the potential for his family and others like them who wish to travel.
"Air travel can be difficult for many people with autism, their families and even for airport personnel supporting these passengers," Mehta said. "Wyndham Worldwide is helping families experience the joy of taking a vacation together while also educating those not directly affected by autism how to better accommodate our community."
Believing that you can do well by doing good, Wishes by Wyndham supports its philanthropic goals through in-kind donations, volunteer hours and by raising awareness and funds for organizations related to its mission. The global philanthropic foundation of Wyndham Worldwide, Wishes by Wyndham is committed to enriching the lives of children around the world.
"Wyndham Worldwide is a family-oriented company, and we understand how important vacations are for families, so they can relax, spend quality time and have fun together," said Mary Falvey, executive vice president and chief human resources officer, Wyndham Worldwide. "Without this program, many in the autism community would never experience the joy of taking a family vacation. We are thrilled to partner with Autism Speaks to provide this opportunity to families affected by autism."
In 2012, Wishes by Wyndham made a $50,000 donation to Autism Speaks to fund free iPads for disadvantaged families who have children with autism. The gift enabled Autism Speaks to secure additional support from other organizations, which together created a combined $75,000 grant. More than 170 families from across the country received iPads.
About Wyndham Worldwide
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