The Taronga Zoo in New South Wales, Australia has decided to try something revolutionary for children on the autism spectrum, and parents everywhere are grateful! On special days, called Access Taronga, guests with autism are allowed into the park before it opens to enjoy the animals, the attractions, and the atmosphere without the presence of the general public.
Children with autism are especially susceptible to loud noises, quick movements, and crowds, which can cause them to have meltdowns and ruin their days. Too much stimulation is the cause of a lot of stress for many of these children, and as a result, their parents rarely get to bring them to places like a zoo.
But Taronga Zoo partnered with Autism Spectrum Autralia and has trained its 120 staff members to give special help to these children if they need it, and opening one hour early allows the children to enjoy the zoo in a way that they never could before. The zoo also issues special VIP badges to children who need extra assistance during their visit. In addition to these badges, the zoo has created three “tranquil zones” throughout the park. The quiet areas have been placed strategically in secluded, grassy areas that allow guests to calm, regroup, and continue throughout their day in case they need a break.
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