Brookfield Zoo Goes Blue for Autism Awareness

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported in 2014, one in 68 children are diagnosed on the autism spectrum. Although not replacing this official estimate, a new government survey of parents reported the number to be 1 in 45 children, ages 3 through 17, have been diagnosed with autism, which indicates there may be more prevalence of autism in the United States as once thought to be.


To bring awareness of one of the fastest-growing developmental disorders in the country, Brookfield Zoo is partnering with Autism Speaks for the annual Zoos Go Blue Campaign on Saturday, April 2, from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. To commemorate the day, the water in the zoo’s Roosevelt Fountain will be dyed blue and there will be blue flags decorating the park’s grounds.


In light of research that has shown that the presence of an animal can significantly increase positive social behaviors among children with autism spectrum disorder, the animal care staff will be on hand to provide special Zoo Chats. These informal talks will allow families to enjoy up-close experiences with some of the animals. Also, joining in the activities will be representatives from Autism Speaks, who will have booths set up at both the zoo’s north and south gates distributing information and answering questions.

Throughout the day, there will be special activities for families who have children on the autism spectrum. Youngsters can participate in a craft activity at the Hamill Family Play Zoo. The zoo’s Carousel will feature a quiet hour from 11:00 a.m. to noon, which will allow families to ride the popular attraction without loud music. In addition, at 1:00 p.m., there will be a sensory-friendly Dolphins In Action presentation. And, there will be a designated area in the Riverside Room, located in the lower level of BZ Red Hots, where families can go for some quiet time.

The zoo also has several BZ Care Kits that can be checked out during a zoo visit. These kits include noise-reducing headphones, hard copies of visual schedules, autism stickers, and safety alert badges and ID bracelets in case a child gets separated from his or her family.

How will you support Autism Awareness on April 2nd?

First Day of Preschool #BTSConBritax

Disclosure: As a Britax Latina Blogger/Advisory Board Member (and in partnership with Mami Innovative Media), this post is part of a sponsored outreach. All opinions expressed are my own.

With a 15-year-old daughter, I’ve been through a lot of back-to-school days.  I’ve seen her grow from the cutest little preschooler to a beautiful young lady in high school.  Every year it’s a struggle to get used to the transition and early mornings – and there’s always a first day of school picture.  This year, though, I was a little more apprehensive than usual.  I hardly got any sleep the night before as I tossed and turned the entire night.  Because this year, you see, would be the very first time that I’d be sending my youngest off to school.

For most kids, starting school is an exciting time.  Going to school, meeting new friends and playing with new toys are all things that most kids look forward to, but for my anxiety-prone kid with sensory integration issues and difficulty with transitions, it was something he was dreading.  We tried getting him excited about his first day for weeks, but every time we would bring it up he would immediately say, “But I don’t want to go to school.  Why can’t I stay home?”, and those statements are usually accompanied by tears.  It broke my heart a little more each day.

Why couldn’t he get excited about it?  Why was he so afraid?  What more could I do to get him pumped about it?  Thoughts like those and more are what kept me up the entire night before.

When morning finally arrived, I was probably just as nervous as he was.  I was probably most afraid that he would have a meltdown at drop-off and not let me leave.  (For those of you that don’t know, my son is very loud, and neighbors down the block would likely be able to hear him if he started bawling!)

We were able to get him up, dressed, and fed without much issue, but as you can see by the red eyes and nose in the picture below, he tensed up and started crying right before we headed out the door.  I’ll be honest and say that I was thisclose to saying to hell with it all and keeping him at home.


But, if I want my son to be a “big boy”, I couldn’t let him run from his fears.  We’d both have to suck it up, get in the car, and just go.


The car ride was fine. He wiped his tears, and I kept trying to reassure him that he was going to have an amazing day, that he’d love his teachers, and he’d get to play with some new friends.  He was letting it sink in…a little.

We arrived about 10 minutes early, and it was just enough time to let him let loose a bit, get out of his super-comfy (and super-safe, and my-shameless-plug-because-I-love-them-so-much) Britax Advocate 70 CS car seat, and take some selfies, of course!  By the time school was about to start, he had calmed down a lot, and was ready to go.


And you know what – he did have an amazing day.

How were your kids on the first day of school?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...