/ Thursday, August 30th, 2012

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Aug. 15Walt Disney World Parks and Resorts was awarded the Gold Autism Award earlier this month by The United Kingdom Autism Foundation for its efforts supporting and accommodating autistic guests.

The Gold Autism Award, accepted by Greg Hale, Chief Safety Officer and Vice President of Worldwide Standards and Auditing, was presented by Ivan Corea, father of an autistic child, Charin Corea. The award recognizes Disney’s initiatives to help guests with disabilities navigate the Walt Disney World Resort properties in an easy and effortless way.

Charin has inspired an entire autism movement in the United Kingdom. His parents initiated 2002 as Autism Awareness Year and they founded Autism Sunday which is now a massive international event celebrated in many countries including the United States. The inspiration behind all of this is Charin, a teenager with autism spectrum disorder  and a communication disorder, who has inspired world leaders to speak up for people with autism and Asperger syndrome.

“I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they are at the park.  I want them to feel they are in another world,” said Corea quoting Walt Disney. “Disney World does just that, and makes it possible for (my son) Charin and other guests to truly enjoy their time in the parks because of its excellent attention and service.”

Raising awareness about autism and the needs of those who suffer from this condition is the main goal of the UK Autism Foundation.

Disney works to accommodate guests with disabilities by appropriately training Cast Members, making the latest technology available to guests and constantly reviewing policies and procedures that govern park operations. In addition, guests with disabilities can plan their park experience  by reviewing a copy of the Guide for Guests with Disabilities.

“Part of Disney’s heritage is to have no one feel excluded,” said Hale. “Our goal here is to make experiences accessible to any guest that enters the parks.”

To learn more about Disney services for guests with disabilities please visit http://disneyworld.disney.go.com/guests-with-disabilities/

6 Responses to "Disney Receives Gold Autism Award"

  1. Caitlin Corsello says:

    This is amazing. As a Mental Health Professional, this only makes me even more proud to be a Disney fan. Let’s hope that Disney continues to cater phenomenally to those guests with disabilities in the years to come.

  2. Great job Disney!

  3. I’m both an Autism Mom and a Disney Parks Fan, so you KNOW I’m loving this! Thanks!

  4. This is great! Disney really treats everyone special and it’s glad that anyone, no matter what their age or need, Disney will do its best to try and accommodate them!

  5. My little guy Rialey has severe ADHD, ODD & the social disconnect of Autism. He has many challenges and he’s an awesome little guy. I don’t know if he loves Disney more than me, but Mickey is his favourite. I am so proud of Disney for making time for children with mental disabilities. THANK YOU DISNEY!

  6. Did you have to use the word “suffer”? I don’t “suffer” from autism because I know it doesn’t define me. That being said … of course there are going to be times when a cast member doesn’t act in the way they’ve been trained, but my greater experience is that Disney works very hard to meet the needs of its guests who happen to have a diagnosis of autism. I’ve been taking my 3 autistic children to Disney all their lives. They’ve blossomed and open up while there.

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