Have you ever dreamt of taking your children to an amusement park? Or watching their faces light up as they experience the exhilaration of their first ride? Of buying snacks and treats and walking around on a beautiful day as a family without a care in the world, forgetting about the to-do list or what others are expecting of you?
I have, but I wasn't sure if that would be a possibility for my family unit, because autism has its challenges and some of them make it almost impossible to stand in long lines, feel normal in public when someone has a meltdown, or know if a ride is going to overstimulate their senses.
That all changed when, last year, I received an email telling me about something called Autism Day at Six Flags Great Adventure. It is a day specifically for individuals on the autism spectrum to enjoy the park without having to worry about long lines, people staring during a meltdown, or overstimulation. Because of this day, my family was able to experience all that I had dreamt of and more! Not only were the lines much shorter than usual, Six Flags Great Adventure and the experts at Gersh Academy had made special accommodations to make our time there Au-some!
There were sensory calm down tents in the case of overstimulation or a meltdown, complete with sensory bins full of rice and small toys. They were a fantastic escape for the commotion of the day and the sun. There was a uniquely modified map of the park that showed which of the rides had sudden movements, loud noises, or other things that we might need to avoid to make sure our kids would actually enjoy the rides that we chose to stand in (the much shorter) lines for.
I don’t think I can even put into words how grateful I am to Gersh Academy, Six Flags Great Adventure, and Little Hoboken for that opportunity and the best news is -- they are doing it again this year on May 8th!
Maybe this photo of my son’s face on his first ride will capture what I’m trying to say.
If you would like to learn more about Autism Day at Six Flags Great Adventure please visit the Facebook Event Page and click the link here to read a Q&A interview I did with Jennifer Domash, Vice President of Marketing and Communications for Gersh Academy, last year!
The Gersh Academy was kind enough to offer a special deal to groups this year. There’s a NEW GROUP RATE: $36.99 + tax PLUS RECEIVE 1 FREE FOR EVERY 10 PURCHASED!
Megan is a stay at home mom of two au-some kids & the vice president of the Hoboken Special Needs Parents Group. Her children both attend Wallace Elementary, here in Hoboken. Both children are extremely active and always keep Megan on her toes! She and her husband, Matt, moved to Hoboken in 2014 and they hope to make it their forever home. You can also find Megan in her role as the children’s ministry leader at Hoboken Grace Church.