Dollywood adds autism calming room

Posted Sunday, July 3, 2016 11:13 PM | Contributed by Jeff

Families of children with autism now have a place to go at Dollywood for a quiet, relaxing environment if they experience sensory overload. It is called a calming room, and it is the first of its kind at any theme park in the world. All the sights and sounds of a theme park can be a little too overwhelming for children with autism, so having a quiet place to go can help them and their family.

Read more and see video from WATE/Knoxville.

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Sunday, July 3, 2016 11:21 PM

What a great idea. This is something that I personally have found difficult to deal with, as my kid struggles with sensory issues, but in unexpected ways. He deal well with theme parks, but arenas and certain other load public places are like torture to him. Took him to an NBA game, and he literally wanted to crawl under the seat. Not a proud moment for me.

And the comments on that story make me hate humanity.

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Monday, July 4, 2016 10:21 AM

I don't often read comments on articles, but your comment about them made me curious. I looked at several, and it's really sad the way some people think.

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Monday, July 4, 2016 12:01 PM

Jeff said:

And the comments on that story make me hate humanity.

The comments on any story these days are cause to hate humanity.

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Monday, July 4, 2016 1:20 PM

I think this is a great Idea. I rate it right up there with funeral home playrooms. If you give any kid a break before it's all too much you can often skip the meltdown altogether. People often don't realize how many places some families can't go together because there always needs to be an out in case of the meltdown. It takes so little effort to provide that and it makes such a big difference. One of my friends and her husband drive separate vehicles to many family activities because she knows there is no place to take her son to collect himself and she doesn't want her daughter to constantly have to leave places early. Reading comments is often sickening. There are just too many people out there who need a good smack upside the head.

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Monday, July 4, 2016 1:46 PM

Bright flashing lights, loud music and noises, large crowds, a lot of standing around in confined areas...

I've had a couple experiences at parks where the confined crowds really did get to me - once each at PNE, Knoebels (Craft Fair area), and Animal Kingdom. I generally avoid really congested areas if at all possible, and vastly prefer a defined queue to a throng. But once I've gone into "panic mode" - there's nothing that can replace 3-5 minutes of time to regroup.

I'll take the calming room over a night club or live music venue pretty much every time...

Last edited by rollergator, Tuesday, July 5, 2016 9:06 PM
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Tuesday, July 5, 2016 4:47 AM

I wish parks had come up with this idea when Ava was younger. She suffers from sensory processing issues and something like this would have been a godsend back then. The closest we had to it was at the Point. When the cacophony of noises got too much for her, we'd take her to the Peanuts play area inside the Snoopy boutique. The quiet and dim lights were perfect to reframe an experience going bad. It didn't hurt that she totally fell in love with the place; she insisted on going in every trip, regardless of whether she was having a bad time or not. Now that I think of it, I really miss that little area.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016 9:50 AM

I miss that spot too not because I needed it but it was just neat.

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016 10:12 PM

Those comments are awful. I suppose at least some of it is trolling but I can't imagine anyone not thinking this is a really great idea. It does nothing but help kids and families and takes absolutely nothing away from anyone else there. People suck.

Way to go Dollywood.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 11:39 AM

I think we could all use a calming room at parks. For me, that's what attractions like the train at Disneyland serve for me (with the exception of the dinosaur battle of course).

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 11:42 AM

Love the signature jan.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 12:34 PM

Le Monster said:
It does nothing but help kids and families and takes absolutely nothing away from anyone else there. People suck. .

Exactly, those who don't need it probably won't even notice it. I don't know what happened but there seems to be a lot of anger in people, it is more widespread than it used to be.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 5:15 PM

Le Monster said:

Those comments are awful. I suppose at least some of it is trolling but I can't imagine anyone not thinking this is a really great idea. It does nothing but help kids and families and takes absolutely nothing away from anyone else there. People suck.

Aren't your last two words part of the same problem? Your first three sentences are perfect but yet you couldn't stop there. You had to say that people suck. Why go negative?

Last edited by Shades, Wednesday, July 6, 2016 5:16 PM
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 5:16 PM

People have become more self centered and if it's something they don't benefit from individually they see it as a waste of resources that could have been used on something they want.

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Wednesday, July 6, 2016 7:45 PM

Shades said:

Le Monster said:

Those comments are awful. I suppose at least some of it is trolling but I can't imagine anyone not thinking this is a really great idea. It does nothing but help kids and families and takes absolutely nothing away from anyone else there. People suck.

Aren't your last two words part of the same problem? Your first three sentences are perfect but yet you couldn't stop there. You had to say that people suck. Why go negative?

I see the flame bait, but choose to keep on swimming along.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016 8:05 AM

There was no attempt at baiting on my part. Just an observation.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016 8:41 AM

They probably added it to calm down pissed off guests that paid to ride lightning rod only to find out its closed. Lmao!

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Thursday, July 7, 2016 8:42 AM

Le Monster said:
People who write awful comments suck.

There. Fixed that for everyone.

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