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WEST MIFFLIN (KDKA) — Just as it opens for another fun season for kids and adults alike, Kennywood has just been designated a Certified Autism Center.
“It’s our mission to provide the finest in family fun and entertainment for everyone,” says Kennywood’s Nick Paradise.
And that includes more than 3.5 million Americans who are on the autism spectrum, Paradise told KDKA money editor Jon Delano on Wednesday.
“This is just a big step forward to better serve a community that maybe has not been served as well as they could have been in the past.”
The autism-friendly certification comes from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards or IBCCES.
“What it means to be a Certified Autism Center is that 80 percent or more of the guest-facing staff at the park have been trained and certified through us,” noted Meredith Tekin, president of the IBCCES.
“We’re also doing an on-site review at Kennywood so we’ll be providing some additional information and recommendation on how they can be more accommodating and welcoming.”
KDKA money editor Jon Delano face-timed with Tekin in Arizona, and she said autistic children have a wide range of sensory disorders — like sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell — that an amusement park can impact.
“We’re also providing sensory guides, so once we complete those and give them to Kennywood.”
“Kennywood will be able to share those with families. What sensory guides are are a way to rate each attraction or ride or interaction using the five senses,” said Tekin.
That guide will soon be on Kennywood’s website to help families pick the attractions most appropriate for their children.
Parents are also encouraged to stop by the riders safety center before going through the turn-styles for assistance..
For the rest who enjoy the sensory overload at an amusement, don’t worry.
“For our regular guests, it really shouldn’t make any changes to Kennywood as normal.”
For more information on Kennywood becoming a Certified Autism Center, visit their website here.