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February 6, 2020 - 1:12pm
posted by Billie Owens in six flags, darien center, news, autism, Certified Autism Center.

Press release:

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas — Six Flags Entertainment Corporation (NYSE:SIX), the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, today announced that each of its 26 parks will earn the Certified Autism Center™ (CAC) designation from the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES).

This initiative will mark the first-ever family of parks to earn the designation at all locations, including the one in Darien Center in Genesee County.

“We are proud to partner with IBCCES to ensure that guests on the autism spectrum have the best possible experience when visiting our parks,” said Six Flags Vice President of Safety Jason Freeman.

“The certification process will equip our team members with the tools and training needed to better serve guests with special needs. We want them to know Six Flags stands ready to welcome them with open arms.” 

Many individuals and families with children on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities find it challenging when visiting new places or planning family trips. The potential for sensory overload combined with a lack of understanding and awareness at parks and other recreational venues can often be overwhelming.

The CAC designation from IBCCES, the only credentialing board providing these services for the amusement and attractions industry, requires that at least 80 percent of "guest-facing staff" at each park complete a training and certification program through IBCCES as well as complete onsite audits and make a commitment to ongoing training.

The staff training focuses on understanding the autism spectrum and strategies for communication, guest experience, and safety, while the onsite audit will give each park techniques and guidance on additional updates.

As a Certified Autism Center, Six Flags parks will provide:

  • Trained, courteous, front-line team members with the ability to identify visual cues to better accommodate guests with cognitive disorders and help them enjoy their time in the parks;
  • A sensory guide for each ride and attraction so guests can make informed decisions about the ride experience and their level of comfort;
  • Special in-park sensory spaces, where guests with sensory needs can relax in a less stimulating environment;
  • Expanded culinary options to meet guests’ dietary needs (such as gluten-free items); and  
  • An updated Accessibility Guide available at sixflags.com, Guest Relations and Ride Information Centers at each park. 

“IBCCES is extremely excited to work with a family of parks with this level of commitment,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board chairman. “So many families just need more communication and understanding from parks and other attractions, so they can make those memories together that we all cherish.

"In some cases, small changes can make a huge impact, and our certification program ensures each park is committed to long-term growth and understanding, not just a one-time training.” 

"As a person on the spectrum, it is exciting to see more parks taking the extra steps to accommodate all guests," said Dr. Stephen Shore. "The commitment Six Flags is making to a true certification process is impressive and means so much to millions of individuals and families. Creating family memories and recreation are essential for both individuals with ASD and their families as a whole." 

For almost 20 years, IBCCES has been the industry leader in cognitive disorder training and certification for healthcare, education and corporate professionals around the globe. IBCCES recognized that many families with children who have special needs have limited travel options. In response to this need, IBCCES created training and certification programs specifically for the attractions and travel industry. While many destinations tout “autism-friendly” options, this phrase means something different to everyone and does not necessarily indicate a true understanding or commitment to serving these guests. 

Six Flags will also be the first network of parks to implement IBCCES’ Accessibility Card. The cards may be used during all Six Flag park visits. For more information on the Accessibility Card registration visit www.accessibilitycard.org.

About Six Flags Entertainment Corporation

It is the world’s largest regional theme park company and the largest operator of waterparks in North America, with $1.5 billion in revenue and 26 parks across the United States, Mexico and Canada. For 59 years, Six Flags has entertained millions of families with world-class coasters, themed rides, thrilling water parks and unique attractions. For more information, visit www.sixflags.com.

April 2, 2019 - 3:04pm

An autism seminar to learn how to help people with autism will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, at Alexander Fire Department's Recreation Hall.

First responders attending will receive two hours of CME Credits.

Sandwiches and cookies will be available for sale.

The seminar is organized by Katie Green and Angelina Luker for the Girl Scouts' Silver Award, the highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can achieve.

Advance registration is preferred, but not required.

To register, call Deb Green at (716) 474-3242.

The recreation hall is located at 10708 Alexander Road (Route 98), Attica.

For more information visit Lake Plains Community Care Network at www.lpccnems.org

August 3, 2016 - 1:40pm
posted by Zachary Lee in dan crofts, autism, business, Aspberger's Syndrome, news, batavia.


Autism has become less taboo in today's rather accepting culture; native Batavia resident and author Dan Crofts is leading the charge in developing an online learning tool for parents and teachers.

Crofts has Aspberger Syndrome himself, which is a mild autism spectrum disorder, and gives a firsthand view from the mind of the unknown. Crofts's website FormingHorizons.com mixed with his rather personal writing style gives you a true through-the-eyes view of how someone with a form of autism thinks.

"I want this to become a tool any parent, teacher, and eventually employer, can use to further understand this disorder," Crofts said.

He hopes this website grows and educates people on how autism or Asperger Syndrome can cause the person to think extraordinarily differently; something people without the disorder cannot easily understand.

Crofts wants to develop a community full of parents and teachers who deal with autistic kids on daily basis and help them better understand their thinking ways; doing so will help their elders teach them a more effective way to learn academically and help them function better in a broader social setting.

Crofts believes his philosophy for the website is what sets him apart from other autism websites.

"You have to see the person behind the diagnosis if you want to help the person with the diagnosis," Crofts said, "You have to start with the sensory issues."

Crofts considers himself "blessed" to be apart of the high-functioning autism group; it gives him a real way to communicate to people without this diagnosis. 

"I feel like I have a lot to offer on my experiences, especially to parents," Crofts said. 

FormingHorizons has been in development as a for-profit. Crofts hopes to bring in that profit through advertisements and affiliate links on his website. But for now he is concentrating on its content and structure.

Lucille DiSanto has helped Crofts in significant ways and has become a mentor to him; DiSanto met with Crofts to talk about the development of the website.

"I feel like my next step in life is to create an autism website ... to help people further understand," Crofts said. 

Croft officially bought his domain name http://forminghorizons.com in August of 2015. 

"I want to work on my substance first," he said.

Crofts has always excelled in academics and graduated from Brockport University with a master's degree in English Literature; Crofts started free-lance writing for The Batavian in November 2009 and stopped doing it so much in August of 2011. 

"I want to create a handbook like writing that people with this disability can use to excel in college, much like I have," Crofts said. "People with this diagnosis don't quite understand common sense." 

Common sense is defined in Webster's Dictonary as "sound and prudent judgment based on a simple perception of the situation or facts." Crofts explained those common sense actions really aren't quite as simple as the definition; autistic people think differently. 

(Photo by Zach Lee of Dan Crofts from FormingHorizons.com.)


(Dan Croft's latest article.)


(FormingHorizons Forums

February 6, 2011 - 4:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in autism, events, Richmond Memorial Library.
Event Date and Time: 
February 24, 2011 - 6:00pm to 8:00pm

This month's Reel Discussion Group at Richmond Memorial Library will focus on "Autism: The Musical."

It will be shown at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 24, with discussion to follow.

It's hard to imagine an unlikelier feel-good documentary than this film, directed for HBO by Tricia Regan.

But it is truly the brainchild of the vision -- and sheer will -- of Elaine Hall. The "musical" is both unflinching in its portrayal of autism, and triumphant in the ways it shows connections among the film's subjects.

September 24, 2010 - 10:54am
posted by Daniel Crofts in autism, 5k Run.

Batavia resident Dave Chua -- pictured with his son, Kian -- is set to lead the Next Level Running Team, which will compete in the Genesee ARC Friends & Family 5K on Saturday.

Chua formed this team recently with the help of a friend. He was inspired to do so by his son, who has Autism.

The objective of Next Level is to raise money for the Organization for Autism Research. Chua's support of this organization is founded upon his desire to promote "practical research that will open avenues to fuller, more complete lives for those diagnosed with Autism."

Next Level runners are eligible for a variety of gifts and prizes donated by area businesses. These include sunglasses, water bottles, a recliner, a spa treatment, and more.

"In the meantime," Chua says, "our runners will be benefitting from the experience and insight of other runners."

In addition to running in the 5K race on Saturday, Chua is going to represent the team by running in the New York City Marathon on Nov. 7. If you wish to support him in either of these events, please visit http://www.firstgiving.com/davidchua1.

Local sponsors of Next Level include the following:

T.F. Brown’s
The Legend Group
The Spa at Artemis
Blue Pearl Yoga
SolarX Eyewear
PK T shop
Oliver’s Candies
Lawley Genesee Insurance
T-Shirts Etc.
Southside Photography
Pauly’s Pizzeria
Max Pies Furniture
South Beach Restaurant
The Daily Grind Coffee Shop

Photo submitted by Dave Chua

May 30, 2010 - 12:12pm
posted by James Barcomb in autism, psychology, humanities, daniel crofts.

The Batavian correspondent Daniel Crofts’ new book, “The Myth of Autism: Autism as a Story of our Time” actually started out as a school project before its recent publication.

“Because it was a master’s thesis, there was a set timeline that forced me to really buckle down on it,” Crofts says. “That doesn’t mean I had to rush it or anything — I had a lot of time to focus on the project and to write it with care, and I’m very satisfied with the end result.”

Written over a seven-month period, the book, according to Crofts, examines autism as an important part of the history and development of modern society.

“If we want to understand autism, we can’t look at it in isolation,” he says. “We have to try to look at it in relation to modern Western culture as a whole.

Phenomenology served as Crofts’s main inspiration for the book. It is a field of philosophy (combined with psychology and the arts/humanities) that looks at given conditions in relation to living experience rather than scientific theories.

“I’ve found myself having a lot of compassion for autistic children and their families and wanting to help them in some way,” Crofts says. “The thing is, that help normally comes from a scientific angle, but I’ve always been much more humanities-oriented.

"When I first started reading on the subject [of phenomenology], I got to thinking how prominent autism is in our time and how this type of psychology could easily be applied to it.”

Crofts believes that his book does more to offer suggestions for how society can interact with the humanity of autistic individuals, rather than find a cure for them.

“As far as the message goes, we should make an effort to see autism as a phenomenon that is trying to tell us something about ourselves as individuals and as a culture,” he says.

“Instead of focusing on trying to ‘fix’ autistic children or objectifying them as mere subjects for study, we as a society should engage with them in a way that is mutually beneficial and transformative.

"My hope is that parents, teachers, therapists, and other professionals are inspired by the understanding of autism that I try to offer.”

“The Myth of Autism: Autism as a Story of our Time” can be ordered on Amazon through this link:


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