Toy companies are starting to get it. Over the past few months, companies like Target, Toys “R” Us, and Costco have announced sensory-friendly events for people with autism. Now Chuck E. Cheese’s has joined the fold, announcing their partnership with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD). Better yet, they’re expanding their “Sensory Sensitive Sundays” program to include 54 locations. How awesome is that?
Chuck E. Cheese’s has already been hosting “Sensory Sensitive Sundays” at it’s Attleboro, Massachusetts and Glen Burnie, Maryland locations–but now it’s adding sensory-friendly events to each of its New York, New Jersey, and New England locations. This is great, as it will allow children with autism in many different locations to have fun in a way that is comfortable for them.
The first new “Sensory Friendly Sundays” was held yesterday. Going forward, each Sensory Sensitive Sundays will be held on the first Sunday of each month–including February 5, March 5, April 2 and May 7–at all locations.
So, what does a sensory-sensitive event entail? The locations will dim the lights, turn off the radio, music, and shows, as well as exclude any costumed characters (including the Chuck E. Cheese’s mouse mascot) from walking around the venue. It will even allow outside food for children with dietary needs. All of these locations will also train their staff to be sensory-friendly.
While the events are currently in their experimental stage–and are not officially “mainstays”–it’s important to recognize how monumental these changes are. Hopefully the events go well, and more locations will host these over the next year.