I have a busy day planned so I’m going to leave you with this press release from Pump It Up – definitely a favorite place in our household.
Families across the United States will soon have access to the first nationwide sensory entertainment program designed exclusively for children with autism, which will be unveiled on April 7, 2011 at more than 150 Pump It Up locations nationwide in conjunction with a fundraiser for Autism Speaks.
Families impacted by autism can participate in the Sensory Jump Time program debut from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. at their local Pump It Up, the nation’s largest franchise of indoor inflatable playgrounds for private parties and other events. The ongoing program combines playtime on the giant, colorful inflatables with games and activities that cater to the needs of children with autism. Then, from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. that evening, Pump It Up locations will open their doors to the general public for the 3rd Annual Great Open Jump, a fundraiser to benefit Autism Speaks, North America’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.
“We applaud Pump It Up’s commitment to raising autism awareness and funds for Autism Speaks’ research and advocacy efforts,” said Scott Leibowitz, Autism Speaks’ national director of corporate relations. “The Great Open Jump and Sensory Jump Time program will both provide lots of fun for children on the spectrum and their families.”
In the last three years, the Pump It Up franchise system has donated more than $110,000 to fund autism research and help support families impacted by autism. The company first began its support of autism in 2007 after many locations across the country began to notice a trend of families seeking out the sensory environment as a unique place for their children with autism to play. Over the years, more and more Pump It Up locations began to host events exclusively for children with autism, but the Sensory Jump Time program enhances the playground’s offerings to better cater to families’ needs. Critical elements of the program include:
- A trained staff that is knowledgeable about autism, the unique needs of those on the spectrum, and how to react to and engage with children.
- Games for children include modifications that cater to those on the spectrum – the games foster motor skills, include repeated patterns and minimize competitiveness and rules.
- Altered procedures to cater to the unique needs of children with autism (i.e. no music, no glow lights, no use of safety whistles or microphones in the arenas, no stamps or wristbands for children, etc.).
“There is a tremendous need for businesses to understand the unique needs of those living with autism, and we see the launch of the Sensory Jump Time program as a small but important step towards a more autism-friendly society,” said Lee Knowlton, CEO of Pump It Up.