Champion Autism Network partners with the SkyWheel for free sensory-friendly event

Champion Autism Network partners with the SkyWheel for free sensory-friendly event
he Myrtle Beach SkyWheel & Boardwalk and Brookgreen Gardens are among the top ten attractions in South Carolina (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Champion Autism Network partnered with the SkyWheel for free sensory-friendly event.

The Champion Autism Network's latest partnership is with the SkyWheel in downtown Myrtle Beach. They are teaming up to make what some parents once considered impossible, possible.

"You never know if you come and you're going to buy the ticket and you're going to wait in line, and you're child is going to have a meltdown, and you're trying to get a refund. There are just too many barriers to overcome. And then we know once the child gets on the ride, they don't want to get off the ride," said Becky Large,the executive director of CAN.

So Large went to the SkyWheel for help with a pitch Operations Manager Rachel Beckermen called a no-brainer.

"It was really just helping these families out. And once you hear the stories of the children, and what they go through, and knowing there's not a lot of options to enjoy a family day, once we heard that, we were all in," explained Rachel Beckermen.

Large worked with SkyWheel employees to promote patience, and alert them to behavior of children on the spectrum from what could be loud screeches of excitement, to arm flapping, to not speaking at all. On top of being able to ride the SkyWheel for as long as they want, thanks to the Chicora Rotary of Myrtle Beach, these families won't have to pay, either.

"It's just part of that community coming together, and being able to make sure that kids get the opportunity to do things they may not normally do," said Jory Taylor, Chicora Rotary President.

Beyond Saturday's event, any family with a CAN card will be able to treat that card like a fast pass for the SkyWheel. Large said the Champion of Autism Network is growing as she's given out 75 to 100 additional CAN cards.

"So we have gone from 150 families, to over 250 now and they are coming from Charleston, Marion County, Florence, really all over - so it's awesome.

Saturday's free event at the SkyWheel is from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and includes a complimentary buffet at the Landshark Restaurant.

Coming up on Jan. 20 and 21, CAN's first-ever sensory-friendly sleep over will be held at Ripley's Aquarium. For a full list of upcoming events, click here.

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