Society's Need for Pal's Why
At Pal Experiences, we know that for people with developmental disabilities and their families, the thought of a seemingly simple and fun activity outside of the house can be so extremely overwhelming that they dare not attempt. Autism (one of many developmental disabilities) impacts 1 in 54 children, and seventy percent of these families are socially isolated. Pal simply cannot bear that concept – really, it seriously bums us out. ☹ Communities are significantly uplifted and unified when they make conscious efforts towards the inclusion of all unique individuals! That’s why Pal Experiences partners with popular businesses, events, venues and recreational sites to become Pal Places - safe spaces for people with disabilities, sensory limitations, and anxiety inducing traumas to explore comfortably.
We don't just do what we do for kicks (although, we have a blast). There's a dire need! Learn about it in this blog:
Pal, in a nutshell.
Using evidence-based best practices in behavioral therapy, Pal Places provide ‘know before you go’ accessibility tools to guests with developmental disabilities. Our Empowering Resources include a custom video showcasing a social story, digital guides, and on-site resources that decrease anxiety by explaining what to expect, ultimately supporting people with developmental disabilities and the ones closest to them.
Our why, backed by the cold hard facts.
The disability community is not a small population. Here’s said facts: Over 1 billion people live with some form of disability, and 70% of them identify as having a non-visible disability. There are fewer public support amenities for this group than the 30% who report their disabilities as physical. According to the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center, children with developmental disabilities will struggle later down the road if not provided with necessary community intervention early on. Read about it! Without support, children with autism may have difficulty starting up a conversation, inviting kids over to play, going to parties, joining activities, and keeping up with games. Lack of social relationships may lead to decreased employment, decreased independent living, decreased life expectancy, and severe mental health problems. In short - it's SUPER important for society to regularly include this population, and with tools that make it easy to do so!
The world that we want to see.
With forethought and determination, Pal helps eliminate unexpected stimuli that can make experiences overwhelming for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. With appropriate resources, young people with invisible disabilities can lead a life full of experiences and exploration (as they should!). Children and adults with disabilities have much to contribute when embraced and encouraged to forge unique paths toward development and growth. Society has SO much to gain.
What families say.
Since 2014, families impacted by developmental disabilities have found peace of mind with Pal Experiences. “We love the Arizona Science Center and now Pal Experiences gives us a reason to love them even more,” said Brooke via Instagram. “With the help of Pal, ALL children, including those with developmental disabilities like autism, are included, encouraged and comfortable in places outside of their home. Before heading to the Science Center I was able to check out the Pal Experiences website where it breaks down potential sensory challenges that are present at the location. I found information on things like noise levels, exit strategies, and crowd sizes - all very important to know for parents of sensory sensitive children!”
We're hustling. Inclusion is so important to us.
Pal Experiences is Phoenix-based with the vision and potential to create a national network of Pal Places that build inclusive communities around the United States and beyond. Today, there are currently 34 Pal Places throughout North America, 15 of which are in Arizona. Every day, public establishments such as museums, restaurants, urgent care health centers, sporting venues, hotels and more are demonstrating the excitement of making an impact as a Pal Place. Over 118,000 people have viewed Pal’s videos.
If your organization is interested in becoming a Pal Place, visit https://www.palexperiences.org/contact.