(Photo: Matt Bennett/WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) —  Traveling and navigating the airport process can be challenging for individuals with autism due to sensory overload. So this weekend, the Wilmington International Airport held their 5th Annual Autism Takes Flight event.

The event was first held in 2013, and ILM says it helps families and children prepare for traveling.

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Autism Takes Flight is a full mock airport experience, where participants check in, check their luggage, maneuver through security and retrieve their bag at baggage claim.

One mother at the event said she hoped the role playing and realistic interactions would prepare her foster son for a trip to meet his biological father.

“That way he can see what it’s like, all the people at the airport,” said Melody Landers.

“He can see what it’s like to go through the baggage, through security, where you have to take your shoes off, and that kind of thing.”

More than 50 children and adults with autism participated in the event.

The airport plans to continue hosting it.

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