MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – Making Myrtle Beach a destination for families of special needs children is a movement that is picking up momentum, one exemplified by Tuesday's announcement detailing the redevelopment of Nance Plaza.
Karen Koltrane, president and CEO of Edventure, was in downtown Myrtle Beach for the announcement to talk about what led the company to partner with the Children's Museum of South Carolina.
"One of the strands that we saw that aligned with what we want to do as an institution was really focused on children with families, children with special needs," Koltrane said.
What Koltrane saw in Myrtle Beach has a direct tie to Becky Large and the Champion Autism Network.
Large has been working for years to make restaurants and businesses more sensory friendly.
"It just doesn't come from nowhere," said Large, the founder of CAN. "There's been a lot of people fighting for this and advocating for this for quite some time. So, you know, it takes a village."
Koltrane, who saw Large's pitch to the Myrtle Beach City Council on Tuesday, said she was truly an inspiration and shared the same goals for the museum as Edventure.
"This new museum will actually be designed from the ground up to accommodate families who have special needs," Koltrane said, adding that of the 300-plus children's museums in the nation, no other has been built in this fashion.
As much as it is for children, Koltrane added the museum will also be for parents.
"Children that don't have special needs probably won't notice the accommodations that are made, but parents of children will notice," she said.
For Large, that is really what her organization's efforts are all about.
"That's really the joy of all this, is to see the joy on the parents' faces," she said. "It's easy to make the kids happy, but to have the parents at ease and feel supported, that's really the mission and the goal."
For the latest list of sensory-friendly events in the area, check out the Champion Autism Network's events page.