COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)– Ohio parents say they were thrilled with the execution and inclusion at Wednesday’s sensory-friendly morning at the Ohio State Fair.
Mother of two Maria Angel brought her two teenage sons to experience the rides, games, and food without all of the noise and flashing lights usually associated with fairs.
She said the day was “wonderful.”
“Many times when you have individuals with autism, especially when they’re younger, it’s harder to do things,” Angel added. “I have my 13-year-old who still reacts [and] has a lot of sensory kinds of challenges, so things and events like [the fair] were always a challenge. We would do it for a little bit, and then, we’d have to leave.”
Maria said when she found out the sensory friendly morning would be happening, she became emotional.
“Because we have tried to experience the fair before, and we haven’t had that opportunity because there wasn’t a quiet room, because [we couldn’t] do the games or the rides where the noises were down,” she explained. “That’s just something that’s overwhelming to know that this exist, and I’m hoping it can grow from here on out.”
Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence executive director Shawn Henry says growth is in the plan.
“Today is really about all of the tomorrows, and what people do to help and support individuals and make their communities more accessible.” Henry expressed. “That’s what today is really about.”
Henry added that they’ve already received calls from other state fairs inquiring how they, too, can implement a sensory friendly places and times.
“Parents are already saying, ‘can we do this longer next year, for more days?’ And actually the [Ohio State] Fair is looking to accommodate that,” stated Henry.
Watch full interview with Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence executive director Shawn Henry in the video at the top of the article.
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