LOUISVILLE, Ky. (March 22, 2017) – Four of Louisville’s top attractions, with support from the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau and Mayor Greg Fischer, are working together to create a welcoming environment for those living with autism and their families.
During Autism Awareness Month in April, the Frazier History Museum, the Kentucky Derby Museum, the Kentucky Science Center and the Muhammad Ali Center will each offer free admission for an Autism Friendly Night at each location that will provide kids, adults and their families an opportunity to enjoy each attraction in a more accommodating atmosphere.
Autism Friendly Nights schedule (5-7pm):
One of the biggest challenges for those living with autism is just getting out of the house and into the community. Families often feel alienated, embarrassed, unwelcomed and are left not knowing how to integrate into everyday life. Each attraction is excited to designate special evenings where the atmosphere and programming is all geared toward a welcoming environment for families to explore and have fun together.
It’s all part of a continuing partnership with Families for Effective Autism Treatment or FEAT. Each participating attraction is part of FEAT’s Autism Friendly Business Initiative which launched last February, with the help of Mayor Greg Fischer. The initiative provides training and certification for local business in autism awareness, acceptance and understanding.
“With the rate of autism rising and currently affecting 1 in 68 children (1 in 42 boys), the Autism Friendly Business Initiative and events like Autism Friendly Nights, not only encourage inclusion in our community, offer ways to effectively accommodate the needs of the growing and underserved autism population,” said Deborah Morton, Executive Director of FEAT of Louisville.
“Compassion is one of our city’s guiding principles, along with lifelong learning and health, and we define compassion as working to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to reach their full human potential. Being an autism friendly city is part of that, and we’re proud to see these partner attractions helping realize that city goal,” said Mayor Greg Fischer.
“The Kentucky Derby Museum is always proud to welcome, and accommodate anyone living with autism at the Museum. We hope this dedicated evening of special programming will make everyone feel comfortable and included so they, too, can share in the excitement of Louisville’s signature event, the Kentucky Derby, and its storied history,” Kentucky Derby Museum President and CEO Patrick Armstrong said.
“Muhammad Ali spent his life making all people feel welcomed, respected, and loved. The Muhammad Ali Center will create a feeling of inclusivity, respect and love as an autism friendly organization at our Community Night for families with children who fall within the autism spectrum,” said Donald Lassere, President and CEO of the Muhammad Ali Center. “We are excited to partner with FEAT and other local attractions to develop an autism friendly museum experience.”
“The Frazier is thrilled to be partnering FEAT in its mission to provide families hope and guidance to help their children with autism reach their full potential, “said Frazier President, Penny Peavler. “The Frazier is ‘Where the World Meets Kentucky’ and we welcome our guests ever day to feel loved, to learn and to live history. Along with our outstanding partner attractions we think it’s appropriate to set aside a day exclusively for families living in autism.”
"At Kentucky Science Center we believe, no matter what the special need, there are no limitations when you’re doing science," said Kentucky Science Center CEO Joanna Haas. "In addition to our monthly No Limits Family Camp, we recently added social stories to our website and a bag of sensory-friendly supplies to our front desk – all to help children with autism and their families prepare for their visit and enjoy themselves as they Do Science with us. We are proud of the role we played in helping FEAT develop the business friendly initiative, happy to be the first to sign on and thrilled to continue to lead the way as the first attraction to reach the 2nd level of certification."
For more information about Families for Effective Autism Treatment, please visit FeatofLouisville.org.