September 18 @ 12:15 pm - 1:45 pm$435.00
PGAV Destinations Vice President Emily Howard will moderate a panel of experts for this exciting and fascinating session at the 95th annual AZA Conference!
Destination designers and leaders strive to create welcoming, inclusive destinations that are enriching and enjoyable for everyone. However, due to the natural behavior of other guests and crowds, interior and exterior lighting, acoustics, the vastness or intimacy of designed spaces, and many other factors, attractions can be overwhelming or frightening for individuals with cognitive disabilities. The fear of encountering these negative stimuli can convince an individual with one of these disabilities to never visit a zoo or aquarium with their family or friends; or having experienced such an encounter, become devoutly against such destinations. In this session, we’ll use an academic and empathetic lens to explore the conditions and needs of populations with PTSD, autism, Down syndrome, traumatic brain injuries, dementia, and other conditions that can affect learning, such as ADD, dyslexia, and dyscalculia. We will examine numerous case studies from across the country, such as the St. Louis Aquarium, New England Aquarium, Sedgwick County Zoo and more to share best practices in how destinations can advance their attraction design, staff training, and public programming to become more inclusive of the population. These industry leaders have put into place real strategies to make experiences accessible and positive for all visitors.
- An understanding of the range of cognitive disabilities;
- Identify opportunities for inclusive design and programming at their institution;
- How to begin to research the topic of cognitive disabilities in their attraction visitors.