|Photo credit: WATE/Knoxville|
A visit to an amusement park should mean family fun for all, but when you have a family that includes a child who is overwhelmed and overloaded by the sounds, the lights, the smells, the motion of the rides, it can be a very difficult thing to navigate. One amusement park has decided to make it a little easier.
In a partnership with Autism Speaks, Dollywood Amusement park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee has a fully equipped "calming room" to help children with autism deal with sensory overload.
The room features a teepee that children can crawl inside for some alone time, calming ambient noise, and a variety of items commonly used in autism-related therapy that the children would be familiar and comfortable with. Lights are dim, sound is low, and it gives a child and their family someplace to calm, recharge and regroup before heading out into the noise and the crowds again.
Several families have written letters of thanks for the use of the room, and Dollywood has now influenced other parks to look into implementing calm rooms of their own.
I think this is such a wonderful idea - I only hope we can see it become more widespread throughout theme parks in America and all over the world!