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LEGOLAND Florida Resort is Becoming Autism-Friendly

By: Jessica Roberts

LEGOLAND® Florida Resort Partners with Autism Speaks to Raise Awareness, Make Vacation Destination More Accessible for Guests with Autism

Expanding its efforts to
accommodate guests with special needs, LEGOLAND® Florida Resort is partnering
with Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy
organization, to make its iconic, kid-centric theme park a more welcoming place
for guests with autism.

Working closely with Autism
Speaks, the vacation resort #BuiltForKids currently is installing a large panel
of hands-on, sensory-stimulating activities in a quiet space within its theme
park, the first of several planned projects designed to make LEGOLAND Florida
Resort a more autism-friendly destination for children and families.

Autism Speaks applauds the efforts of LEGOLAND
Florida Resort to provide special accommodations so that guests on the autism
spectrum can maximize their park experience,” said Karen Bacharach, senior
director with Autism Speaks’ Southeastern Regional Office in Maitland, Fla.
“When asked, our Central Florida volunteers were eager to offer some design
considerations to help the resort be autism friendly.”

According to Aymee Good,
brand manager at LEGOLAND Florida Resort, a recent refurbishment of the theme
park’s Annual Pass processing center provided an ideal opportunity to create a
safe, calming space for children with special needs, a project that quickly
bloomed into multiple ideas among several departments to make the resort a more
welcoming place for kids of all ages and abilities.

Under the partnership,
Autism Speaks staff members and volunteers will consult on the development and
installation of “quiet rooms” and other resort facilities designed to meet the
needs of guests with autism. The organization also will help LEGOLAND Florida
Resort create online “social stories” that will provide illustrated
walkthroughs of its attractions, shows and other guest amenities, and will
consult on other autism-friendly initiatives such as a park map designed for
guests with special needs and possible revisions to its existing Guide for
Guests with Disabilities.

To better educate LEGOLAND
Florida Resort employees (known as “Model Citizens”) about the unique needs of
guests on the autism spectrum, Autism Speaks staff members and volunteers will
conduct training sessions at the resort at least twice a year and will supply
educational material to be distributed to all new hires.

“We’re proud to say that
we’re built for kids,” said Rex Jackson, director of Marketing & Sales at
LEGOLAND Florida Resort. “By partnering with Autism Speaks and making these
smart changes that will benefit so many families, we’re helping to ensure that
our resort is truly built for all
kids.”

On Saturday, April 23,
LEGOLAND Florida Resort will sponsor the Kids Zone area during the Autism
Speaks Walk at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Fla., and on Saturday, Nov. 12, during
the Autism Speaks Walk at Cranes Roost Park in Altamonte Springs, Fla. The
family friendly walks are an inspirational and impactful opportunity to raise
money and awareness to help change the future for all those who struggle with
autism. For more information, visit walknowforautismspeaks.org.

In honor of World Autism
Awareness Day, observed on April 2, LEGOLAND Florida Resort is participating in
the Autism Speaks “Light It Up Blue” campaign by shining blue spotlights on its
whimsical entrance arch (pictured above). Each year, iconic landmarks,
skyscrapers, schools, businesses and homes across the globe unite by shining
bright blue lights in honor of the millions of individuals and families
affected by autism. For more information, visit autismspeaks.org/liub.

You may also be interested in LEGOLAND Florida Resort or LEGOLAND Hotel.

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