Central Florida: An inclusive destination for everyone

The region offers excellent accessibility and sensory inclusion

(Source: TM Americas)

Nothing compares to the excitement of taking a vacation, enjoying a long break or simply taking advantage of some free time to travel, especially if it involves sharing moments with family. And when you're looking for fun for everyone, Central Florida offers an impressive variety of attractions to satisfy every member of the family, including those with special needs or different sensory abilities.

In the United States, approximately 1 in 6 people have sensory needs or sensitivities. According to statistics from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately one in 36 8-year-old children is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). However, in Latin America, studies on this topic are limited and a network of researchers dedicated to studying it in depth has recently been established. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately one in every 160 children in the world has an autism spectrum disorder. In Mexico, the proportion is one in 115; in Argentina, one in every 44; and in Colombia, there are still no official statistics available.

As a result, demand for options that feature training and certification has reached historic levels. Many autistic and sensory-sensitive people face challenges when visiting new places or planning family trips due to a lack of staff training and understanding, potential sensory overload, or the need for flexible options and accommodations.

However, charming Polk County, located between Orlando and Tampa and made up of cities such as Lakeland, Davenport, Lake Wales and Winter Haven, prides itself on offering a welcoming atmosphere in the heart of Florida. Here, some of the region's top attractions go out of their way to ensure that everyone, without exception, enjoys themselves and has a good time.

This is the case of Peppa Pig Theme Park, Legoland Florida Resort, Florida Children's Museum and Bok Tower Gardens. We invite you to explore these five must-sees:

Peppa Pig Theme Park: It was the first theme park in America to be designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC) by the International Council for Accreditation and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). It offers a detailed sensory guide that covers information about touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell. Sensory guidelines that conform to these specifications are implemented across all attractions and games. All staff are properly trained to care for guests with sensory sensitivity, and the park also has quiet seating areas and sensory kits available.

Legoland Florida Resort: This resort has also been designated as a CAC, which extends to both the theme park, the largest in Florida for children up to 12 years old, and each of its hotels. The park's attractions meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards. And just like Peppa Pig Theme Park, Legoland also offers detailed sensory guides, quiet areas where families can relax, certified staff and kits available for a more comfortable experience.

Florida Children's Museum: Located in Bonnet Springs Park, this museum is proud to offer ADA access, working diligently to become a welcoming place and be classified as “Autism Friendly” The layout, colors and acoustics have been carefully selected and designed to provide a fun and enriching experience for all children. Blinds to control sunlight, floor patterns showing pathways, wall treatments to reduce sound, and wheelchair access are just some of the measures that make visiting comfortable for all members of the community. the family. Additionally, the museum has a quiet room and sensory kits that include noise-reducing headphones, sunglasses, and toys to keep your hands busy.

Bok Tower Gardens: These gardens are widely recognized as “Autism Friendly" by the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) at the University of South Florida. In collaboration with CARD, Bok Tower Gardens provide tools and resources for people to with autism spectrum disorder and other cognitive or sensory processing disabilities, enjoy a special and pleasant visit. From the layout of the landscape to the services offered, every detail is designed to create an experience that is inclusive and enriching for all its visitors.

From having fun at theme parks to exploring botanical gardens, Central Florida has something for everyone! Every detail is designed to create an experience that is inclusive and enriching for all its visitors.

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