ALBERTVILLE, Ala. A Marshall County mom is working to put an idea into motion on a widespread scale, and it started with her 3-year-old son.
Spencer is a little boy, full of energy just like any other. As he plays on a playground Thursday morning, he can't sit still.
"Spencer was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder through Vanderbilt University when he was just a little over 2," said mom Patricia Moore.
Moore works with her son constantly, and he's growing by leaps and bounds. This month, she is working to get an entire county behind an idea she had that started with her little boy.
"I decided that I would just save up and through April, and every weekend, do a very large play date and invite anyone that wanted to attend that had a child with autism or a child with sensory issues," Moore said.
So far, those sensory friendly play dates have included skating, a movie and a petting zoo. Thursday, on its first day open, Moore organized a sensory friendly fair date at Marshall County VFW Fairgrounds. "We're going to open up from three to five and then we'll close, and then open back up to the public at six." fairground manager Marvin Cocchi said.
He says he worked with the company running the fair to coordinate the changes. The lights, the music, even food vendors will be adjusted so the specific families who come can all enjoy it. Other businesses involved in the sensory friendly play dates worked with Moore to be accommodating as well, and that is something Spencer's mom is hoping will catch on.
"I really want the businesses to step up and say 'we can do this on our own', or we can offer a reduced entrance fee, or we can make the sensory accommodations, or we can adjust lighting, we can adjust sound, and I think that's going to happen," Moore said.
Moore wants to continue the play dates throughout the year. She's inviting more families to join, and she hopes other counties will follow suit in organizing the same thing for families elsewhere.
For more information, you can visit the Spencer's Friends Facebook Page.