By Michelle Spitzer
The City of Parkland is hosting an Autism Awareness and Acceptance event with vendors on hand sharing educational resources.
There will also be games, live music, arts and crafts, face painting, a petting zoo, etc.
Parkland was recently awarded the rare distinction of being an autism-friendly city. It is the only city in South Florida and just the second in the state to receive the honor.
Mayor Rich Walker referenced how the former Mayor, Christine Hunschofsky, started the process at the last city commission meeting and invited her to participate in the presentation.
City officials worked for years to earn the honor. From library workers to BSO-Parkland deputies, school resource officers, and parks and recreation employees, staff received extra training on working with individuals with autism and their families.
Residents and visitors also have access to sensory maps, including the library, city parks, and city hall. Social stories are also available, which gives residents and visitors detailed explanations of what they can expect from sights and sounds at different places throughout the city.
The family-friendly event takes place on Saturday, April 9, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Pine Trails Park.
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- Michelle Spitzer grew up in Coral Springs, attending Westchester Elementary, Ramblewood Middle, and J.P. Taravella High. She attended the University of Florida and has been a journalist for nearly two decades. As a reporter and editor for The Associated Press and USA Today, she’s covered everything from U.S. Presidents to shuttle launches to Jamie Foxx’s New Year’s Eve party.