Visit Myrtle Beach Announces New Sensory-Friendly Children’s Book and Expands Autism-Friendly Initiatives

Myrtle Beach © Photo Pexels/Curtis Adams

Visit Myrtle Beach has announced the upcoming availability of their new children’s book, titled “Splish, Splash, Squawk! Finding Joy in a Sensory-Friendly Vacation.” In partnership with author and illustrator Lynda Farrington Wilson, the book is designed to inspire families with children on the autism spectrum to explore the joys of traveling together. Through a captivating fictional narrative, the story illustrates the wonders of family vacations while addressing the challenges of adapting to new surroundings and experiences.

“At Visit Myrtle Beach, we believe that The Beach is for everybody and are continuously striving to enhance our destination, making it welcoming and inclusive for people of all abilities,” said Karen Riordan, President and CEO of Visit Myrtle Beach. “We recognize that families with children on the autism spectrum often feel vacations are challenging and want to change that. Recognizing the restorative and life-altering power of travel, we continue to further our efforts to provide greater support and access to memorable vacation experiences for all.”

“Splish, Splash, Squawk! Finding Joy in a Sensory-Friendly Vacation” tells the heartwarming story of Maris the parrot. Maris, armed with her trusty telescope and a heart full of compassion, watches over the families vacationing in Myrtle Beach, ready to lend a helping wing to those in need.

“As the mother of a son with autism who has spent more than 20 years vacationing in Myrtle Beach, this project is close to my heart,” said Farrington Wilson. “Myrtle Beach is my son Tyler’s happy place within his challenging world. I hope this book provides the encouragement and strategies for special needs families to navigate travel and find their unique vacation joy!”

In addition to the book, Visit Myrtle Beach has released a trailer for their new television series “Traveling the Spectrum.” This unscripted show captures the heartfelt journeys of three extraordinary families as they navigate the unique challenges and triumphs of traveling with a family member on the autism spectrum. By giving viewers a real-life glimpse into their beach vacation, “Traveling the Spectrum” aims to inspire and empower other families, while fostering empathy and understanding.

myrtle beach
© Visit Myrtle Beach/White Garment Publishing Group

Visit Myrtle Beach and the communities along the region’s 60 miles of coastline have been committed to creating an autism- and sensory-friendly destination since 2016. As a recognized autism-friendly destination, Myrtle Beach continues its increasing efforts to provide a safe, accessible, and welcoming destination for all, including a sensory-friendly pledge and numerous initiatives to promote and foster inclusivity throughout the region.

Highlights of sensory-friendly services and programs available throughout the Grand Strand include:

  • In conjunction with the Champion Autism Network (CAN) and TravelAbility, Visit Myrtle Beach launched The Beach is for everyBODY: Sensory-Friendly Pledge in 2022. To date, more than 150 businesses along the Grand Strand have pledged their support or received CAN certification. Participating organizations are committed to welcoming guests with autism and other neurodiverse disabilities through tangible and meaningful actions designed to support residents and visitors.
  • The Autism Travel Card offered by CAN is a simple way for guests to identify their family as one that includes someone with autism, without needing to say a word. Participating restaurants, hotels, and venues have been trained in the needs of individuals with autism and their families and in providing special or expedited service. Autism Travel Cards are available online at AutismTravel.Club
    for a $7 membership fee and offer several benefits, including services and discounts with participating businesses.
  • Through Project Lifesaver, Myrtle Beach area police and tourism professionals are trained to administer a GPS tracking band program for children who are prone to wandering off or are at risk of becoming lost. Those wearing the band, whether on the wrist or ankle, can be quickly located by search teams and returned to families/caregivers.
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