A town in South Carolina officially became the first autism-friendly travel destination Jan. 12 when Surfside Beach Town Council signed a proclamation declaring it so.
Known as the family beach, Surfside Beach passed Resolution 16-162, which declares, “Whereas, the Business Committee has developed a plan for families affected by Autism to experience a safe and enjoyable vacation at the Family Beach that will accommodate the families’ needs by hosting events specifically designed for individuals with Autism; and
Whereas, The Lowcountry Autism Foundation, Inc., the Autism Academy of South Carolina, and the Reggie Sanders Foundation have endorsed this effort; and
Whereas, the Business Community has engaged in this effort and together with the Surfside Beach Business Committee endorse the recommendation to resolve that the Town of Surfside Beach is 'An Autism Friendly Travel Destination.'”
According to reports, the proclamation was the brainchild of Becky Large, founder of Champion Autism Network, an organization based in Surfside Beach with the goal to raise autism awareness and help families with children on the spectrum. The proclamation is meant to notify families of autistic children that the town's businesses welcome them in a non-judgmental atmosphere.
Surfside Beach is a small coastal town approximately 10 miles from Myrtle Beach located along the Grand Strand. According to SurfsideBeach.org, the town strives to maintain a laid-back, child-friendly environment for its residents and guests. It features a town-owned fishing pier, water-park, supermarkets, mini golf and restaurants.