The Calming Room at Dollywood has been appreciated by many families as it provides a quiet, relaxing environment for kids with an autism spectrum disorder or disability to feel safe and be at ease.
Christmas is around the corner and we have all been planning out our ideal holiday getaway. While some prefer going abroad during the holiday season, others want to stay in and possibly go for a nice Christmas-themed movie at a cinema hall or even head to local amusement parks.
Amusement parks are often considered one of the most fun places to go, not just during Christmas but at any time of the year.
However, for some kids with an autism spectrum disorder or a disability, it can be a quite difficult time for parents, especially considering how theme parks are often packed with sensory overload, not able to get in or out of rides, or in fact, just to find a quiet place to relax.
Legendary singer Dolly Parton's Dollywood has changed the narrative around this in order to help all children have a comfortable experience. Dollywood becomes the first theme park in the world to have a calming room that provides a quiet, relaxing environment for families to feel safe and be at ease.
The idea to open a calming room was started by Dollywood team leader Judy Toth who worked with Autism Speaks to help design the space.
We applaud Dollywood for being one of the first amusement parks for creating a calming room designed specifically for individuals with autism. We hope this is only the beginning!https://t.co/bcXHGzaH4A pic.twitter.com/WV1hiSQqiQ— Steinberg Behavior Solutions (@ChildBehaviors) October 16, 2019
"A Calming Room has been created for the purpose of helping our Guests with special needs who may have a sensory overload while visiting us at Dollywood. The Calming Room is a quiet, relaxing environment where the Guest and his/her family can feel safe and at ease," reads the description on the official website.
Going to a theme park can be tons of fun, but easily overwhelm any child. For a child with autism or other sensory issues, the rides, loud noises, flashing lights, crowds, new smells, and the general atmosphere of theme parks can quickly become too much. https://t.co/U3W9m1bu57— Secular Students (@SecularStudents) October 8, 2019
"The room is equipped with sensory items such as a weighted blanket, fiber optic strands and a teepee. To find out more information please call 1-800-Dollywood (1-800-365-5996) in advance of your visit to speak to an attendant at our Ride Accessibility Center. When you visit the park, stop by the Ride Accessibility Center adjacent to the Dollywood Emporium and a Ride Accessibility Host will be able to assist you," it concluded.
Although the room is quite small, it has many comfortable chairs, a tent, low-level lighting, and many sensory-soothing items like strings of fiber-optic lights. As reported by the Huffington Post.
Families have been loving this space at Dollywood with many taking to Facebook to appreciate the calming room. "A big thank you to Dollywood from our family and the autism community," one parent wrote on Dollywood's Facebook page.
"On my son's first trip to Dollywood, he became overstimulated and had a terrible meltdown... If we had a room like that to escape to, things may have been different."
Dollywood located in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, is often visited by families from across the world and it is honestly, a really fun place to visit during Christmas. Will you be going there? Let us know!