We are pleased to share that we have partnered with Autism Alliance to make Weir River Farm an Autism Welcoming and sensory responsive business to better serve individuals with autism and their families and caregivers.
Just in time for Autism Awareness Day on April 2 and Autism Awareness Month (April), the staff at 75-acre Weir River Farm has been trained by Autism Alliance to provide simple yet impactful accommodations and Autism Welcoming options, which help families with autism have a better experience while hiking the trails and visiting the barnyard.
“Making our special places accessible and welcoming to everyone is one of our pillars and at the heart of our mission,” said Anne Smith-White, Trustees Director of South Shore, South Coast, and Cape Cod properties. “This training and designation from Autism Alliance is vital because it lets families with autism know they’re coming to a property that understands and makes space for them and their loved ones.”
As a sensory responsive property, Weir River Farm now offers calm kits with noise-reducing headphones as well as visual story guides that can be viewed online before the trip to give people with autism a preview of what to expect at the farm. Some programs will now see limited admission at certain times to reduce crowds and noise.
“The partnership between the Autism Alliance and local businesses increases quality of life for family caregivers and their loves ones with autism, and creates a welcoming, inclusive community for all,” says Jeffrey Keilson, Senior Vice President of Strategic Planning at Advocates.
The first event to include such accommodations at Weir River Farm is the Sensory-Friendly Open Barnyard on April 16. Individuals with autism and their families can come for a special hour from 1-2PM during which time admission will be limited to 20 people and closed to the general public. Families will have an opportunity to experience life on a real working farm, meet ponies, llamas, and a pot-bellied pig, and enjoy a StoryWalk in the fields. An online social story guide will be available beforehand and special sensory kits that include noise-reducing headphones will be available from the staff in the barnyard.
The Trustees is also designating the first hour of its April 25th Weir River Farm Spring Festival as a sensory-friendly event, with a sensory-friendly Sunset Picnic planned for July 7.