Autism Awareness Month: Legoland In Florida Introduces Autism-Friendly Amenities
April is Autism Awareness Month and in line with this, Legoland in Florida announced some major additions to its amenities and features. The theme park installed and devised autism-friendly facilities for the benefit of its guests under the autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
Legoland partnered with Autism Speaks in coming up with the improvements. David Brady, the theme park's spokesperson, said they wanted to give all their guests a memorable experience but they know how parks can be triggering for those with ASD.
"Sometimes they throw themselves on the ground," Brady said, who has first-hand experience with autism tantrums. Brady has a son with special needs, as per Fox 13.
To make things smoother, guests with special needs children can pick up a free "Blue Hero Pass" at Guest Services areas. With this card, families with children with autism won't have to wait in line at popular attractions, as stated in the press release.
To prevent overstimulation in the rides, guests can preview "social stories" also at the Guest Services areas. This provides a step-by-step guide for each ride, especially where there is sudden noise or darkness.
Around the park are "quiet rooms" where the kids can play Legos or squishy toys. These sites have noise-cancelling headphones and weighted blankets, should the children need soothing or calming. "Instead of going all the way back to your hotel room or all the way back to your car to leave the park, you now have a safe, quiet place in the park where you can take a break," Brady said, as per My9NJ.
To assist the families, Legoland has Model Citizens. These are employees who received specialized training to assist children with autism and their families.
Legoland also announced it will be donating $15 per ticket sold to Autism Speaks for the month of April. Supporters of the organization may also purchase discounted print-at-home tickets, which will be available until May 31, 2017.
Legoland will also commemorate Autism Awareness Day on April 2, Sunday. The park will turn blue lights on at night.