Landon Pickard knew at the age of six, during his first commercial flight, that he wanted to work on airplanes one day. Since his young diagnosis of severe Aspbergers Syndrome (a mild form of Autism), his parents knew education would be challenging. But they were determined to teach him how to succeed in life.
Landon’s mother reflected on his school days, and what she described as the delicate balance of helping without enabling.
“We would slowly take away some of his extra supports as we felt he was ready. Each time he was forced to be more independent, there was initial agitation, but he always got stronger,” she said.
Throughout his high school career at Edmond North, his parents continued providing tools and opportunities to grow as a student. Although advocating for a child with a disability was frustrating at times, his father saw continuous growth in Landon.
“When he enrolled in the Aviation program at Metro Tech, he was determined to get through it. Landon is such a smart student and immediately took this very serious,” he said.
Landon’s father, United States Air Force Col. Jeffrey Pickard, beamed with pride as he discussed the hard work and perseverance his son put into the program at the Aviation Career Campus (ACC).
“I got transferred to California mid-way through his program, so the family stayed, living in short-term housing to support Landon finishing his program,” he said, adding that he had just flown in for graduation.
According to Landon, the challenges he experienced during his 18 months at ACC were worth the reward.
“It was tough to stay organized in a fast-paced program. But it was worth it when I learned I passed all three of my tests for my A&P license within a week of completing my classes,” he said proudly.
Twenty-year old Landon left on a plane the morning after graduation. With his A&P license in hand, he plans to apply at Travis Air Force Base, and looks forward to life in a new place with his family. What advice would he give a nervous new student at Metro Tech?
“Don’t let anything scare you. It’s not as scary as it seems, the only thing scary is your imagination.”