Are you having a tough time finding autism friendly products and services when you need them? Is it hard to find locate autism friendly activities, vacation spots or sensory toys?
Providing families affected by autism and those individuals diagnosed on the spectrum with the latest information is a key objective here at Autism Parenting Magazine. We know it can be time-consuming to sift through the infinite amount of information regarding autism friendly products and services on the Internet — time our families most likely don’t have to spare.
Whether you’re a parent, family member, caregiver, teacher, or you are on the spectrum yourself, we hope the following list will help guide you in the right direction when searching for autism friendly products and services.
Autism Friendly Sensory Toys
Aiko & Egor is an animated video series developed by See Beneath, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization based in San Diego County, CA. Aiko & Egor displays simplied animation and engaging underwater characters. The videos are intended to be watched together by children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their family members, but can be enjoyed by many different children and adults.
This parent-owned autism and special needs resource helps families, teachers and therapists get hard-to-find products for kids with ASD, PDD-NOS, Asperger’s, SPD, ADHD and other special needs at reasonable prices.
A large selection of toys that can help children who have sensory issues that need to be considered when selecting a toy. They have a large selection of products for a wide range of needs.
This site provides more than 1,000 products at discounted prices for every child on the spectrum from pre-school math and integration items to autism friendly toys.
Toys designed for children on the spectrum who might need help with multi-sensory experiences, maintaining focus, managing emotions, articulating speech and language, using social skills and/ or motivating self-expression. These toys become tools as play builds bridges.
Fun and Function was founded by parents when they could not find kid-friendly sensory tools that would fit their family’s needs. Using expertise as an occupational therapist along with a growing team of experts, the site offers a large selection of autism friendly products.
– Autism Parenting MagazineAPM reached out to Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, Research Coordinator at the Els Center of Excellence, to provide an article on what makes LEGO® bricks an applicable intervention for therapists as well as an activity for groups. In her piece, Wagenfeld explains the fundamentals, the process and the valuable social connections that can be made.
National Autism Resources Inc. is a global leader in providing cost-effective, research-based therapeutic tools that meet the needs of people on the autism spectrum The unique line of more than 1,400 products is pulled from over 100 different vendors to meet the specific therapeutic needs of the autism community and support evidence-based therapies.
Special needs toy company that focuses on products that specifically cater to a wide variety of challenges including ASD, deaf and hard of hearing, blind or visually impaired as well as cognitive, speech and physical challenges. Their award-winning toys have been bringing joy and the gift of play to thousands of children.
For 25 years, Special Needs Toys has provided a range of hand-picked special needs toys including many of their own design to customers through a full color catalog and online. They offer more than 1,500 special needs toys including swings, spins, rockers and bouncers, mirrors, switches, balls, puzzles, dolls, wonder walls, bubble columns, bright projectors, fiber optics and resonance.
Owned and operated by Peach State Pediatric Therapy, Sensory University inventory covers a full spectrum of educational items and pediatric fitness products, as well as a library of more than 100 titles dedicated to improving the lives of children with special needs.
Unique toys for autistic children including a wide variety of calming fidgets, sensory toys, chewy jewelry, autism chewies for oral sensory defensiveness, and other popular therapy tools and autism toys for autistic children.
The National Autistic Society provides some examples of toys, books and play equipment that many parents have found to be popular with young children with autism.
– Autism Parenting MagazineFor many children on the autism spectrum, reading facial expressions is a constant struggle. It can be a challenge to determine what other people are thinking and feeling, and because of this, a great number struggle to participate in typical social interactions. Read about the benefits of visual supports, such as a feelings and emotions chart, PECs, and social stories when working with your child with autism.
Autism Friendly Screenings
AMC has partnered with the Autism Society to bring unique movie showings that keep sensory issues in mind. They turn the lights up and the sound down so people can get up, dance, walk, shout or sing. Check local listings for autism friendly screenings near you.
These sensory-friendly screenings are presented in a lights up, sound down environment. Check local listings for autism friendly screenings near you.
Cineworld Cinema – UK
Autism-friendly screenings at Cineworld differ from regular screenings: lighting is kept on during the screening, volume levels are reduced, there aren’t any advertisements or trailers, seating is not allocated and customers are allowed to bring in their own food. Check local listings for autism friendly screenings near you.
ODEON hosts autism friendly cinema screenings every month that feature subtle changes to the cinema environment which mean that people who have sensory difficulties have a more positive experience than they would in a traditional cinema setting. Lights are kept at a low level as well as the sound, no trailers or advertisements are played and allowances are made for increased levels of movement and noise. Check local listings for autism friendly screenings near you.
Regal Cinema offers sensory-friendly films where the sound is turned down and the lights are turned up. In My Way Matinee, audience members are told to feel free to cry, sing, shout or dance. Check local listings for autism friendly screenings near you.
Showcase hosts autism friendly cinema screenings that feature the following: lower lights, lower volume and trailers will not be shown at the beginning of the film. People can bring in their own food and drinks and you can move around freely, if needed. Check local listings for autism friendly screenings near you.
The Vue offers special screenings of autism friendly films where slight alterations to the traditional cinema environment have been made such as: the lights are left on low, the sound is turned down, trailers and adverts are not played and it’s OK for people to move around during the screening and make a bit of noise. Social stories for the cinema along with a synopsis for each film is available for download. Check local listings for autism friendly screenings near you.
Click here to find out more
Autism Friendly Holidays
The rustic guesthouse in the Carmiel for children with autism and their families provides treatment, supervision, and activities specially-designed and adjusted for each child’s special needs. Families are given the opportunity during weekends and holidays to relax knowing their children are in capable hands.
A special needs travel agent will help you with planning your trip to an autism friendly-resort or an autism friendly-cruise and will customize your vacation around sensory issues, special interests, special dietary needs and the dynamics of your family.
This national organization develops cruise vacation services to accommodate adults and families living with children with autism and other special needs. The staff assists people with typical cruise services as well as specialized respite and private activities/sessions that allow guests the use of the ship’s entertainment venues in an accommodated and assisted manner. Available on Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Disney and Carnival Cruise Lines.
Excellent advice on autism friendly vacation spots and creative travel tips. You can subscribe to their e-mails to get a free Ebook of printables, lists, and travel tips when traveling.
Celebrity Cruises has received Silver Level Autism Friendly certification from the Autism on the Seas, a travel organization that caters to travelers with autism and other developmental disabilities. They offer a number of autism friendly services and amenities and conform to seven categories to include cruise staff training, youth programming, pre-vacation planning and services, dining, disability accommodations, guests satisfaction and support for Cruises with Autism on the Seas staff.
Dolphin Suites is the first hotel in the Dutch Caribbean specifically-designed to accommodate every type of guest, especially those with special needs. It offers a wide range of accommodations and facilities, including therapy treatments and free access to the Curacao Sea Aquarium.
Exceptional Vacations provides high-quality vacations for individuals with developmental disabilities and other special needs. Custom trips available.
Hotel Caraibi in Rivazzurra di Rimini, situated a few steps away from the sea, is participating in the project “Autism Friendly Beach,” an initiative promoted by Rimini Autismo Onlus to train tour operators in the assistance of autistic children together with their families. Autismo Friendly Beach is a network of hoteliers and lifeguards able to assist families and guarantee them a peaceful holiday by the sea.
Royal Caribbean was the first cruise line to be certified as autism friendly in 2014. They offer an autism friendly initiative for families living with autism which includes sensory-friendly films and toys, dietary menu options, and overall autism friendly training for Adventure Ocean staff and more.
The Smugglers’ Notch Adaptive Program in Vermont is dedicated to providing therapeutic recreation for children and adults of all abilities in a supportive environment. Their Autism Mountain Camp includes additional programming. Special activities such as sailing on Lake Champlain with Vermont Adaptive, Swim Whisperers swim lessons and horseback riding are available as part of this program.
TradeWinds Island Resorts are made up of two resorts on St. Pete Beach overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. In 2010, the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD) designated TradeWinds Island Resort as autism friendly after employees underwent CARD’s training program which taught staff how to better meet the needs of guests who have autism and their families.
– Autism Parenting MagazineLearn ways to ease the difficulty of travel when someone you love has special needs.
Animal Kingdom Park, Hollywood Studios, Magic Kingdom Park and Epcot
Walt Disney World Resort offers a host of services to help people with special needs including those on the autism spectrum to include advanced ticket purchase, FASTPASS service, rider switch, break areas, companion restrooms, attraction guides and dietary accommodations. Park hotels also cater to those who need assistance.
Wyndham Westshore was designated Tampa’s first “autism friendly” hotel. The staff has been trained by the Center for Autism & Related Disabilities at the University of South Florida. The Wyndham Garden Hotel in Austin, Texas, offers five standard rooms with an extra double bed at a discount to families with an autistic child.
Autism Friendly Spaces
Autism Friendly Spaces – US
Autism Friendly Spaces provides high-quality training and customized supports for businesses and community organizations. They aim to move beyond awareness, to foster an authentic appreciation of neurodiversity and partner with organizations to make both their physical spaces and the services they provide more accommodating and accepting to people with diverse needs.
Autistic Home Decorating: Make Your Home Autism Friendly
— FriendshipCircle.orgExcellent tips on how to make a home more autism friendly from suitable color choices to the benefits of proper furniture placement.
– Autism Parenting MagazineA licensed interior designer provides excellent advice for creating a calming bedroom space for children on the spectrum through the use of color, texture and furniture placement.
– Autism Parenting Magazine
A lighting company In Manchester, England explains the calming, soothing effects certain types of lighting can provide people on the spectrum.
Click here to find out more
Autism Friendly Activities
The Adaptive Sports Center (ASC) of Crested Butte, Colorado is a non-profit organization that provides year-round recreation activities for people with physical disabilities as well as individuals with cognitive-related disabilities such as Down syndrome, autism, ADD, ADHD, and other emotional and behavioral disorders.
– Autism Parenting MagazineA unique summer camp near the Dallas/Fort Worth area for kids with learning differences and social difficulties such as ADD, ADHD, High-Functioning Autism, Asperger’s and other special needs.
– Autism Parenting MagazineLearn about how yoga can have a positive effect on an ASD child’s communication skills and anxiety levels while possibly reducing challenging behaviors and providing a better sense of self. Tips for teaching yoga to children with ASD are also provided.
The National Autistic Society has provided an excellent listing of activities and support centers for people on the spectrum located in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.
– Friendshipcircle.comTop outdoor activities that will help you maximize the time you and your child on the spectrum spend with Mother Nature.
Splore is a not-for-profit program in Moab, Utah, that provides outdoor activities such as rock climbing, river trips and hiking through a partnership with Red Cliffs Lodge for special needs children and adults.
This adventure-based social skills camp is in the Orlando, FL area and is for students who may have poor self esteem, low self-confidence or have social skills issues with their peer group. Students have traveled from Central, South America, the Caribbean, and all over the United States for this social skills camp.
– Autism Parenting MagazineThis extraordinary gym provides a safe, nurturing, and exciting environment to foster learning, exploration and safe sensory experiences.
Autism Friendly Days Out
Carowinds provides accommodations for autism and related disorders. To provide equal access for all guests, those people with mobility impairments or ASD receive a Ride Boarding Pass with wait times.
The National Autistic Society has provided a comprehensive listing of days out at autism friendly venues plus tips for taking a child on the autism spectrum to different leisure venues.
This location is installing a large panel of hands-on, sensory-stimulating activities in a quiet space within its theme park in 2016. They also offer a Hero Pass for those who may have difficulty waiting in line. This pass allows the guest assigned the pass immediate boarding through the exit along with one helper; however the rest of the group is required to receive a reservation.
Located in San Antonio, Texas, Morgan’s Wonderland is the first and only theme park to offer fully accessible and sensory friendly rides. A non-profit organization, admission is free for guest with special needs and admission fees for accompanying family members, friends, caregivers and the general public are nominal.
Autism Friendly Theatres
A helpful listing of the relaxed performances of top shows specially-designed and adapted to reduce anxiety and create a supportive atmosphere for people with autism spectrum conditions in London.
TDF Accessibility Program launched the Autism Theatre Initiative (ATI) which makes theatre accessible to children and adults on the autism spectrum, as well as their families in New York.
Located in Connecticut, the Goodspeed offers performances that cater to people of all ages with sensory input disorders, their families and caretakers. This is an excellent opportunity to experience the magic of live musical theatre in a friendly, judgment-free environment.
Autism-friendly performances are designed and intended for families with children with autism or other developmental disabilities in Millburn, NJ. This program is designed and planned in cooperation with Paper Mill Autism Advisory Team. At these performances the theater environment is altered providing a comfortable and judgment-free space that is welcoming.
In order to make shows more accessible to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families, this theater located in Times Square adapts productions. Seating, sound and lights are taken in consideration and a Calming Corner is available along with a relaxed atmosphere. Autism Specialists are also available throughout the performance.
Autism Friendly Colors
A helpful listing of colors and the responses they can create with children. Some colors, while beautiful, can be too stimulating. Learn which colors are best for a child with sensory issues.
If you enjoyed our list of Autism resources for parents, we would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to share on social media.
Autism Parenting Magazine tries to deliver honest, unbiased reviews, resources, and advice, but please note that due to the variety of capabilities of people on the spectrum, information cannot be guaranteed by the magazine or its writers. Medical content, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained within is never intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition and never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read within.