Legoland New York is now a Certified Autism Center
Ask any parent of a child diagnosed with ASD (Autism spectrum disorder) if going to a theme park is easy; most likely, every answer will differ. This is because, as a parent with a child with autism, sometimes going anywhere can be challenging. I should know, I have gone to several theme parks with my ASD son and I have been hit, slapped and bitten, for the park was too overwhelming for him. My son is quite sweet, but visiting a spot where loud noises are the norm, long lines part of the deal- can be quite stirring especially for a nonverbal or sensory-sensitive person. When even the most simple place does not consider that not all kids are the same, going to something grand like a theme park feels impossible.
There has been one exception- and this is Legoland. We have been to Legoland three times, and it has been the only theme park where my son is happy. A few months back, I learned that Legoland was in the process of becoming a Certified Autism Center. I may have cried, for I know that parents with kids with special needs want to try at least to give their kids the same experience as other kids and to learn that the park would become even more equipped for my ASD child is a game changer for families. And now starting March 31st Legoland with the start of the new season will be a Certified Autism Center.
What you can expect on your next visit to Legoland
Being certified provides LEGOLAND New York with the tools and support needed to thoughtfully engage with a neurodiverse population while understanding that kids play at a level that is known and comfortable to them. While all LEGOLAND Resorts across North America will now be Certified Autism Centers by spring 2023 this is what you can expect at Legoland New York:
· No more having to explain why your child may do this or that; there will now be trained front-line team members educated and equipped to help autistic guests and sensory sensitive individuals.
· Pre-planning resources available for guests on the Parks’ websites.
· I once took my son on a ride and he was unable to push a button (he now can); he just sat there in his little ride while the other kids passed him by and my heart sank. At Legoland, you will find at every ride a posted sensory guide (developed in partnership with The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards) indicating whether there are bright lights, loud sounds, or any features that guests might need to plan around.
· Low sensory areas allow guests with certain sensitivities to take a break and relax in a less stimulating environment.
· Upon request, First Aid offers ear plugs to assist with sound and overstimulation and “Assisted Access Passes” can be requested at Guest Services.
What does it mean to be a Certified Autism Center?
According to their press statement Legoland New York received its certification from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards. IBCCES works with many fields such as education, healthcare, entertainment and professionals to provide evidence-based training and certification programs created in conjunction with its board of clinical and subject matter experts and autistic individuals to give a better understanding of autism and other neurodivergencies. Simply put, they give people the tools to know how to understand people with ASD as well as people who may be challenged with neurodivergencies such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, epilepsy, hyperlexia, Dyspraxia, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and Tourette syndrome (TS).
Legoland New York Opens for the season March 31st and is located at 1 Legoland Blvd, Goshen, NY 10924.
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