SeaWorld recently obtained their autism center certification. This means that their staff is prepared for most concerns that may arise from a parent bringing their child on the spectrum to the parks. This is the first Orlando Theme Park to obtain this certification. It will be interesting to see if the other area parks follow suit.
One of the biggest concerns for parents of or children on the spectrum is that it is easy to overwhelm the senses. SeaWorld has created sensory guides for all of its attractions and rides. This allows parents, caregivers, and individuals on the spectrum to understand what they are getting themselves into. This is a huge benefit for those that want to do it all but are not sure if it is a good idea.
SeaWorld has provided two quiet rooms in the park. The first is next to Guest Services at the park entrance. The second is next to the baby center inside Sesame Street. These two areas provide a quiet place to regroup, calm down, or just ret a few minutes as needed. Please keep in mind these rooms are for those on the spectrum that need them. There are areas for babies also provided if your little one needs a nap. These rooms are set up with tools to help kids on the spectrum decompress. If they are occupied by napping babies families that truly need these tools can not occupy them.
SeaWorld has sent numerous ambassadors to training to ensure that there is assistance throughout the park as needed. If you have a need let an ambassador know and they will get someone over to you that can assist. We spoke to several different staff members who went through the autism training. It was quite refreshing to see so many members on the SeaWorld team that could be there for our kiddo if needed.
One awesome thing is you can check out noise-canceling headphones at Guest Services if you think you might need them. The park can be quite loud. If your little one is sound sensitive feel free to check these out for the day. They are a great addition to the park as you do not have to remember to bring your own.
These small changes in making the park an autism center make a huge difference for autism families coming to Orlando to visit. I would love to see more of these simple changes come to the other area theme parks.
Learn More about the program on SeaWorld’s Website.