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Apr 4, 2018

Southwest Airlines® and Autism Speaks Present “San Diego Cares for Autism” at Lindbergh Field on Saturday, April 7

Press Releases

Apr. 4, 2018

For Immediate Release

Southwest Airlines® and Autism Speaks Present “San Diego Cares for Autism” at Lindbergh Field on Saturday, April 7

Media Contacts:

Larissa Kerstetter –  619.318.7424 ([email protected])

SAN DIEGO – Southwest® and Autism Speaks are partnering to host the first “San Diego Cares for Autism” in San Diego at Lindberg Field on Saturday, April 7th from 6:00pm to 8:30pm The event will take place at Southwest Terminal 1 at the San Diego International Airport. Sponsors include Mission Federal Credit Union and ACES, Comprehensive Educational Services Inc. The event will provide families and people affected by autism with the unique opportunity to navigate the air travel experience in a realistic, relaxed and controlled environment, surrounded and supported by other families in the autism community.

The San Diego Cares for Autism event will include Southwest Employees and support staff from Autism Speaks and ACES providing assistance throughout the travel process, which will include checking in, walking through security and boarding the aircraft at the gate. Families will also be allowed to practice the boarding process, giving the children a feel for sitting on an aircraft, as well as fastening a seatbelt and being served by a Flight Attendant. Pilots and Flight Attendants will be onboard to simulate the true onboard experience. Families will be able to meet and interact with the Pilot and Flight Attendants, enjoy a cockpit tour and more.

“We hope that by partnering with Autism Speaks and providing this experience for families, we’ll have the opportunity to see them on a future Southwest flight,” said Tom Starr, San Diego Station Leader for Southwest Airlines. “We look forward to spending this time with these families and showing them some extraordinary Southwest Hospitality.”

Angie Lasagna, VP Community Relations and External Affairs at Mission Federal Credit Union, said, “Mission Fed is truly honored to partner with Autism Speaks as part of the organization’s long commitment to community service. We’re excited to do our part in assuring these children have a positive educational experience.”

The key to a successful trip, autism or not, is preparation. Preparation for the autistic family has a different meaning. Kristen Farmer, CEO and Founder of ACES, Comprehensive Educational Services Inc. said, “Events like these offer tremendous benefits for individuals with ASD, their families and our hardworking therapists. When we come together, we create positive movement towards a society where people of all abilities and talents can thrive.”

Autism now affects one in 68 children. Taking a family vacation can be stressful for any family, but it can often be especially challenging for families of children with autism, and for many of them, it is an impossible dream. Anxiety, long lines, loud noises and unfamiliar surroundings all come into play. San Diego Cares for Autism will provide families with the time, resources and compassion for their children to become more comfortable with this experience.

About Southwest

In its 47th year of service, Dallas-based Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) continues to differentiate itself from other air carriers with exemplary Customer Service delivered by more than 56,000 Employees to a Customer base topping 120 million passengers annually, in recent years. Southwest became the nation’s largest domestic air carrier in 2003 and maintains that ranking based on the U.S. Department of Transportation’s most recent reporting of domestic originating passengers boarded. During peak travel seasons, Southwest operates more than 4,000 weekday departures among a network of 100 destinations in the United States and 10 additional countries. Southwest has announced its intention to sell tickets in 2018 for service to Hawaii, subject to requisite governmental approvals.

About Autism Speaks

Autism Speaks is dedicated to promoting solutions, across the spectrum and throughout the life span, for the needs of individuals with autism and their families. We do this through advocacy and support; increasing understanding and acceptance of autism spectrum disorder; and advancing research into causes and better interventions for autism spectrum disorder and related conditions. We empower people with autism and their families with resources, online tools and information covering the life span. San Diego Walk will be held on October 21, 2018 at NTC Park at Liberty Station. To register for the walk go to:

About Mission Federal Credit Union

Mission Federal Credit Union is a not-for-profit organization providing a wide variety of financial services to meet the needs of its customers. With nearly $3.4 billion in assets, 30 local branches, and more than 228,000 customers, Mission Fed is the largest, locally based financial institution exclusively serving San Diego County.

Mission Fed enhances the lives of its customers through financial education and financial services. In addition, Mission Fed contributes to hundreds of educational and nonprofit organizations. At Mission Fed, your success is our bottom line. All San Diegans are welcome. Federally insured by NCUA and Equal Housing Lender.

About ACES

ACES is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals and families impacted with autism or other special needs. We provide comprehensive, professional services to maximize individuals’ potential in the home, clinic, school and community, throughout their lifespan.

Using the very latest and most widely accepted teaching and therapeutic methodologies, ACES aspires to help each individual with autism and other developmental disabilities fulfill his or her maximum potential. We provide a full complement of services in homes, clinics, schools and communities throughout the United States.

ACES opened its doors to individuals and families impacted with autism and other developmental disabilities in 1996. We have grown into a team of specialists with backgrounds in applied behavior analysis, psychology, education, occupational and speech therapies. ACES helps children and families throughout California, in addition to Arizona, Washington, Hawaii, Colorado, and Texas.

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