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February 06, 2020

Six Flags Great Adventure to be designated autism-friendly park

All 26 theme parks locations will improve accommodations for families with sensory and cognitive needs

Children's Health Autism
Six Flags Autism Friendly FlyingLeopard2014/Creative Commons

Six Flags will become the world's first network of theme parks to receive the certified autism center designation. Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson Township New Jersey, pictured above, will have staff trained to better accommodate individuals and families.

New Jersey's Six Flags Great Adventure soon will be among the theme-park company's 26 locations to receive certified autism center designations, officials announced Thursday.

Six Flags, which describes itself as the largest regional theme park company in the world, will become the first-ever family of parks to earn the designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education.

"We are proud to partner with IBCCES to ensure that guests on the autism spectrum have the best possible experience when visiting our parks,” said Jason Freeman, Six Flags vice president of safety. "The certification process will equip our team members with the tools and training needed to better serve guests with special needs. We want them to know Six Flags stands ready to welcome them with open arms."

The goal of the certification is to help individuals and families who find it difficult to plan trips to locations where family members will not potentially be overwhelmed by sensory overload.

Staff at Six Flags parks will be trained on ways to communicate with and accommodate guests who are on the autism spectrum or have other sensory sensitivities. They will learn to spot visual cues of distress and be available at each ride and attraction to help families make informed decisions while visiting the park.

Sensory spaces within each park also will provide guests with opportunities to step away from overstimulating environments.

Six Flags also will be the first theme parks to implement IBCCES’ free Accessibility Card, which will help individuals with cognitive disorders or physical impairments identify and receive helpful accommodations.

"IBCCES is extremely excited to work with a family of parks with this level of commitment," Myron Pincomb, IBCCES board chairman, said "So many families just need more communication and understanding from parks and other attractions, so they can make those memories together that we all cherish. In some cases, small changes can make a huge impact, and our certification program ensures each park is committed to long-term growth and understanding, not just a one-time training."

Six Flags Great Adventure, located in Jackson Township, New Jersey, becomes the latest park in the region to receive the autism center designation. In April 2018, Sesame Place in Langhorne, Bucks County, became the first park in the world to receive the designation.

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