Everyday Heroes

Airport Employee Starts Something Good With Sensory-Space Idea

Jason Rudge is the proud father of a 4-year-old with autism who suggested a big idea for the Pittsburgh International Airport. Now it's here and he's taking you on an exclusive tour!

The sensory-friendly space just opened to the public at Pittsburgh International Airport.

"Presley's Place" is now open at the Pittsburgh International Airport for families with children or adults who need to take advantage of the calming environment they've created inside. It's named after 4-year-old Presley Rudge, whose father pitched the idea to his boss. Jason Rudge is a heavy equipment operator at PIT. His son was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, and inspired him to send his suggestion to the airport CEO Christina Cassotis:

Two weeks later the ball was rolling. Now it's here. Jason gave me an exclusive tour to show you around Presley's Place and tell us why he was compelled to start something good (You know that's what we're all about!) :

So how do you get into the space since the door is kept locked? There are instructions and a phone right next to the door. Follow those and you'll get the code to get in.

Once you're inside, be prepared to be amazed.

American Airlines and Magee Plastics worked together to create this realistic airplane cabin inside the space.

Here are some of the other key features listed by the airport for Presley's Place:

  • 3 separate, soundproof quiet rooms
  • Adjustable lighting
  • Calming chairs and activities including bubble tubes with color-changing lights
  • Restroom with an adjustable-height sink and adult-sized changing table (No special code needed to access from the terminal near Gate A9)

Motorized and adjustable changing table that supports children and adults of all sizes.

This space is now the first of its kind in United States. There are airports with single sensory rooms but none have made a commitment on this scale that can accommodate multiple families at once. They hope this serves as an example for others down the road.

Here's where you can find out more about how the space came together and other programs and services at Pittsburgh International Airport: Services

Jason, Sharon and Presley Rudge are a family making a difference.

We at Sparkt are so proud of Jason, Sharon, and Presley's effort to "Start something good"! They are truly an inspiration for us all. Sign up, sign in and show us what you or your neighbors are doing to make a difference in your community.

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