Six Flags to hold its second Autism Day
Morning Call - 4/24/2019
April 24-- Apr. 24--Every kid should be able to enjoy a day at an amusement park.
That's why Six Flags Great Adventure of New Jersey will host its second Autism Day on May 8 -- a day where the park will be closed except to kids on the spectrum and their families, educators and friends.
Children with autism or other sensory difficulties can become easily overwhelmed and overstimulated in the noisy, crowded and chaotic environment that's often typical of an amusement park.
On Autism Day, the park's environment will be modified to be more sensory-friendly. Some examples: The park will not have loud music, flashing lights or long lines, or other things that usually accompany a day at an amusement park -- things that frighten or overwhelm kids on the spectrum.
The park will have:
-- Lowered light and music levels
-- Shorter lines and special accommodations for kids unable to stand in line
-- Designated decompression areas that are stocked with sensory-friendly items such as iPads and bean-bag chairs to sit on. (These places are designed to give kids a quiet place to decompress when their surroundings become too much to handle.)
-- An improved system for rating rides based on sensory and thrill levels
-- More highly-trained staff (more than 100) available to assist the kids
This year's event will feature more rides for younger kids, as well as a few more challenging ones for the older kids. The park will also offer more decompression areas and trained staff.
The event is a partnership between Six Flags Great Adventure of New Jersey and the Gersh Academy for Students on the Autism Spectrum.
Six Flags Great Adventure is about an hour and 40 minutes away from Allentown, at 1 Six Flags Boulevard in Jackson Township, New Jersey.
Entertainment venues across the country are working to make more accommodations for families with children on the autism spectrum. Kids on the spectrum and those with sensory difficulties can become overwhelmed in an unfamiliar social setting, with too many people and sounds around them, preventing them from being able to focus on one person's question or one activity at a time.
Autism is one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the U.S., affecting 1 in 68 children, and 1 in 42 boys, according to Autism Speaks, a nonprofit advocacy group that aims to increase awareness, resources and research for autism spectrum disorders.
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