The Autism Society of Ohio announced that it is excited to be working with Cafaro Co.’s Eastwood Mall to bring events to children with special needs. This year’s upsized celebration is Caring Bunny: An Inclusive Easter celebration. It will take place on Sunday, March 29, 2015 from 9:30 – 11 AM in Eastwood Mall Concourse. Registration at www.autismohio.org/mv is highly encouraged.

Started three years ago by Autism Society of Ohio, this annual event is dedicated to making sure that families with children with special needs have the opportunity to enjoy seasonal traditions like the Bunny Photo Experience. This year the project is being expanded into a celebration with the addition of the following FREE Activities: Arts & Crafts; Face painting; Egg Hunt & Roll; Exhibits of artistically-decorated eggs; petting zoo featuring F5RS Bunnies in Baskets – Therapy Rabbits, Lori’s Lovely Butterflies Exhibit tent walks and more; as well as plant and garden activities and train rides.

“We are blessed to have a terrific family retail operation here in the Valley that has such a long history and strong ties to the community,” said Aundréa Cika, director of the Mahoning Valley office of the ASO. “They care enough to coordinate with their photo operators and staff to lessen potential triggers, open during otherwise closed hours and make other adjustments to provide a great experience for all children to enjoy.”

Many steps are taken to reduce sensory triggers, creating a more comforting environment for the children’s magical visit with the Bunny. This environment is likely to include (specific elements or aesthetics may vary):

  • Turning off in-mall music, stopping escalators located near the Bunny set, dimming the lights, and shutting down fountains for the duration of the event;
  • Eliminating queue lines through the use of a numbering system whereby guests approach the set when their number is called; and
  • Special activities and stories geared toward the needs of the child during the ‘wait’ period to help the child understand what activities will occur during the visit.