This April, Wonder Bunch Media is thrilled to be celebrating Autism Acceptance month with all of the families we are proud to serve!
For generations, autism was under-diagnosed and wildly misunderstood, leaving neurodivergent children separated from the education, interaction, and support they deserved. As more is learned about the spectrum, doors continue opening and the resources grow more and more accessible and effective. We are all aware of some of history’s most inspiring and prolific creators who are also on the spectrum, and who used their unique view of the world to make it a better place for us all! From the scientifically brilliant contributions of Einstein to the artistic contributions of Anthony Hopkins and Dan Aykroyd, our world needs each and every one of us.
According to recent data from the CDC, 1 in 54 Americans are currently diagnosed as living on the spectrum. As more is understood about the symptoms and testing becomes more reliable, that number is very likely to grow! And as it does, so will our understanding of the varying needs of all children, allowing us to provide proper support to each and every one.
Family-centric businesses are taking extra steps to create more sensory-friendly events and activities for families to take part in together. AMC Theaters has partnered with Autism Society to offer sensory-friendly movie night at all of their theaters! To find a showing near you, visit AMC’s Sensory Friendly Event for showtimes.
Disneyland has created a special experience for children who struggle with waiting in line, struggle with impulse control, or who require sensory breaks throughout their Disney adventure. Visit their Guest Services Page to learn more about scheduling and ticket prices.
In addition, many museums, bounce houses, and kids’ gyms host regular sensory and accessibility-friendly hours and events to ensure that nobody misses out on the experiences that make childhood so much fun! Be sure to check each facility’s website for schedules, or organize a night of your own for your local autism group’s activity nights.
In our effort to ensure that our work is always inclusive and helpful, we reached out to the team at Autism Action Partnership to review each of our apps before we launch them. We are so grateful for their help in identifying sensory triggers, and any visual stimulation that could lead to trouble for our friends on the spectrum.
Autism Action Committee Co-Chair and Guild Member Lucy Gunning is a licensed pediatric occupational therapist and is passionate about creating equal opportunities and experiences for children of all ability levels. She took the time to share some of her tips with us, which are helping guide us as we construct future apps for little hands.
She mentioned the fact that our apps are easy for children to step away from, and we were thrilled that our focus on gentle transitions and non-reliance is paying off!
She added “This is a spectrum, but children tend to be either hyper or hypo responsive. For a lot of our kids, technology-wise, they can become hyper-focused on tech. They may struggle to transition away. But it’s helpful to find apps that have countdowns or signals to let the child know that the game is coming to a close.”
She also advised that parents who are sampling apps for children, especially children on the spectrum, avoid anything with unnecessary noises or too much multi-tasking. This has proven to create anxiety in children rather than prepare them for “the real world.” She directed us to a site called Autism Apps to find other apps that happen to be sensory sensitive for neurodivergent children.
“From a sensory perspective, it’s about filtering. It’s not always about the calming. If apps have something visual and auditory and kinesthetic going on, children will need to focus much harder. The spectrum is so broad. No one answer is going to be right for all children. And that’s why it’s important to keep finding as many resources as possible and making them available to everyone who needs them.” If you know of any sensory-accessible games, storybooks, or activities you’d like us to share, email us at Hello@WonderBunch.Com, and be sure to check out our neuro-thoughtful games like Letter Meadow, Number Island, and our first storybook app, Molly’s Plane Takes Flight (now offered free as Molly’s Paper Plane on the App Store)!
We are so grateful that Lucy and the team at Autism Action Partnership are working so hard to create an inclusive, welcoming world for all children! We will continue to do our best to keep following your lead!