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Accessibility www.parkworld-online.com


Noise cancelling headphones help autistic guests to deal with potentially overwhelming situations


Writer Linda Scruggs provides tips on family health and


parenting on her blog UnboxedMom.com. At the Dollywood Ride Accessibility Centre, she says, you can discuss any accessibility needs with a Dollywood host and receive specific information on rider requirements. “This is a small team of six hosts, so you’ll get to know them as you return again and again. I’m a nurse, and like you, privacy is important to me. While I love attractions, what makes Dollywood stand out to me is being able to take our time to talk with the hosts and feel relaxed as we explore the park. It’s the kindness that makes a difference. The hosts in the Centre provide a personalised and private opportunity to ask questions and gather information to make the most of your visit.


“I’d also encourage you to enjoy the shows! We rely on taking breaks and discovering everything Dollywood has to offer. The entertainment truly cannot be missed. Indoor theatres have accessible seats that are available on a first- come basis, so be sure to arrive early. Guests who require special assistance can speak with one of the friendly ushers.”


Accommodating cognitive disabilities Pennsylvania’s Sesame Place theme park, which is based entirely on the award-winning show Sesame Street, completed staff-wide autism sensitivity and awareness training earlier this year. The completion designates the park as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) as distinguished by International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). It is the first theme park in the world to receive such a distinction. As a Certified Autism Center, Sesame Place is required to


provide ongoing training to ensure that team members have the requisite knowledge, skills, temperament, and expertise to interact with all families and children with special needs, specifically on the autism spectrum. Training takes place in the areas of sensory awareness, environment, communication, motor and social skills, program development, and emotional awareness as well as a comprehensive autism competency exam. The autism training must be taken every two years in order to maintain the certification. The park will have two quiet rooms located on Sesame


Island featuring adjustable lighting and a comfortable seating area for guests to take a break.


NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018


Beginning in 2016, Legoland Florida Resort began launching a variety of services and initiatives to assist guests with autism spectrum disorders and their caregivers. Their efforts have expanded in subsequent years to include specially equipped spaces in the theme park as designated ‘quiet rooms’ where quests on the autism spectrum and their families can take a break. Noise-cancelling headphones, weighted blankets, squishy toys and Lego building tables are some of the complimentary resources available. The no-cost ‘Hero Pass’, meanwhile, allows groups to bypass the standby line at popular attractions. The Legoland Training & Development team has created ‘social stories’ that offer an illustrated, step-by-step walkthrough of every theme park ride and show, so guests won’t be surprised by periods of darkness, loud noises, bright lights or other elements that often can be frightening or overwhelming. In addition, all newly hired resort now employees receive specialized training to equip them with skills to more effectively interact with guests on the autism spectrum, as well as their families or caregivers.





The


hosts provide a personalised and private opportunity to ask questions and gather information.


In honor of World Autism Awareness Day earlier this year, Legoland Florida Resort participated in Autism Speaks’ ‘Light It Up Blue’ campaign by illuminating the theme park’s iconic Grand Carousel with blue bulbs.


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