Farm Show adds low-stimulation shelters for sensory-sensitive guests

Pennsylvania Farm Show

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Certain certainties come with the Farm Show: the smell of hay, the sounds of animals being born and crowds.

The stimulants can be stressful for anybody, but especially children with autism who have sensory sensitivities.

To make things easier, the Farm Show now has a low-stimulation shed stationed in every hall of the show. Inside patrons will find a quiet place to sit down and sensory bins filled with different textured items.

“It’s really moving to see that and to see what happens when you can make this experience as accessible to as many people as possible,” said Shannon Powers, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture press secretary.

Powers said the sheds were inspired by therapeutic riding centers.

“Last year we had a nonverbal little girl with her miniature horse that she visits at a therapeutic riding center and she trains it,” she said.

Although the sheds were designed with a certain population in mind, anyone can step inside to shut down.

“It’s not limited to kids with autism or parents of small children that are just wildly stimulated. Anyone can take advantage of these shelters,” Powers said.

Shelters will be marked on all Farm Show maps. They were donated by Pine Creek Structures.

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