On October 26, NYIT School of Health Professions, led by Alexander Lopez, J.D., associate professor and interim chair of the Department of Occupational Therapy, held the first accessible haunted house on Long Island, providing children with special needs a fun and inclusive Halloween treat.
The wheelchair-accessible haunted house, set on a single floor in Anna Rubin Hall on the Long Island campus, was a welcoming and festive experience for families affected by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and other disabilities. Volunteers, including students, faculty, and staff in the School of Health Professions, led families through each room, which were divided into three scare levels: Minimum Scare, Maximum Scare, and No Scare. Several of the elements traditionally found in Halloween attractions were omitted, including flash and strobe light displays and physical contact from actors, to prevent unnecessary distress among the children. Parents had the opportunity to evaluate the haunted house and its rooms to ensure the experience was right for their child. Children were encouraged to explore their creative side and got “crafty” at a pumpkin painting station.
The fun-filled event supported Inclusive Sports and Fitness, Inc. (ISF), a 501 (3) (c) nonprofit organization that provides health promotion and wellness activities, sports instruction, and physical fitness training for children and adults with different abilities.
A peak inside the School of Health Professions’ accessible haunted house.