Six Flags Great Adventure is among a growing number of New Jersey attractions looking to best meet the needs of families navigating autism. The Ocean County theme park is hosting a privately run, 'sensory friendly' Autism Day on Thursday, May 3. That day, fundraising ticket-holders will enjoy Six Flags with scaled back music and lights. "Decompression areas" will be set up across the property, offering familiar, sensory-friendly items, like iPads.

As Autism Awareness month wraps up next week, it seems like more NJ area venues than ever are in-tune with the challenges and sensitivities facing individuals with autism, as well as their loved ones and educators.

Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank has two Sensory-Friendly events on its Spring schedule, April 23 and May 3. Staffers working these events have received training and guidance from POAC Autism Services to offer a judgement-free and sensory-friendly environment.

State Theatre New Jersey’s Autism-Friendly Relaxed Performances allow families and schools with children on the autism spectrum or with other sensory sensitivities to enjoy high-quality live entertainment in a safe, welcoming, sensory-friendly environment.

Earlier this month, a dozen Chuck E. Cheese locations across NJ offered "Sensory Sunday," with dimmed lighting, muted or lowered music and limited usage of costumed characters.

The Redbulls soccer team just held an Autism Awareness event at its Hudson County stadium in Harrison, which included access to a quiet room for those who needed it.

In neighboring Pennsylvania, Sesame Place recently became the first theme park in the world to be designated as a Certified Autism Center (CAC).

New Jersey has the highest nationwide rate of children diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder, with 1 in 41 on the spectrum.

Proud Jersey Girl Erin Vogt’s first reporting gig involved her Fisher Price tape recorder. As a wife and momma of two kiddies, she firmly believes that life’s too short to drink bad coffee.  A fan of the beach, Dave Grohl and karma, in no particular order.

Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook as ProudJersey.

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