Pal Experiences, a Phoenix-based non-profit, has partnered with the Fresno Chaffee Zoo to create free tools to help those with autism and other developmental disabilities enjoy their next trip to the zoo.
The Fresno Chaffee Zoo is the first zoo location in the United States to become a Pal Experiences Pal Place. By doing so, they have taken steps to become more inclusive for those in the community that are impacted by autism and other developmental disabilities. Together, they’ve created a video social story showing guests what they can expect, along with an interactive digital guide to assist with communication and navigation around the zoo.
“1 in 6 children are impacted by developmental disabilities. Just like ADA accommodations help those in our community with mobility challenges, our unique set of tools allow those with non-visible disabilities to enjoy experiences in public. We’re excited to have the Fresno Chaffee Zoo join in our mission to make all places more enjoyable for those individuals and families impacted,” says Melanie Issacs, Pal Experiences Founder & Chief Inclusion Officer. “These tools are imperative to help the overall experience for those who visit the zoo. They allow for families and children to not only improve their overall experience, but also give them the opportunity to actively engage, without the added stress and anxiety visiting a new place can bring.”
A unique set of tools was created for the Fresno Chaffee Zoo:
- Custom video social story and location tour
- Digital guide
- On-site resources enhancing specific needs for guests
These unique tools make it easier for a diverse spectrum of thinkers and communicators participate in everyday activities many take for granted. Pal Experiences and the Fresno Chaffee Zoo hope that this type of program will be socially transformative, and propell other businesses and entertainment venues in the community to recognize the need to accommodate our growing, exceptional community.