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Minnesotans work to improve lives of people with autism on World Autism Awareness Day

As parents and lawmakers work hard to improve the lives of those with autism, more businesses and entertainment venues are making accommodations as well.

 You may be seeing a lot of blue today in recognition of World Autism Awareness Day.

At dusk, the 35W bridge will be lit up blue.

And at 9:30 a.m., families will gather at the Capitol with the Autism Society of Minnesota.

That group will get to know their lawmakers and talk about legislation that impacts those with autism.

Then at 1 p.m., a Senate committee will discuss a bill that would fund grants to train emergency personnel to better respond to those with autism in crisis or emergency situations.

Last April, the CDC estimated every one in 42 children in Minnesota is on the autism spectrum.

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As parents and lawmakers work hard to make changes to improve the lives of those with autism, more businesses and entertainment venues are making accommodations as well.

The Mall of America and Nickelodeon Universe was just recognized as a Certified Autism center.

In order to earn the designation, 80 percent or more of the guest-facing staff had to complete autism sensitivity and awareness training.

There are also sensory guides for each ride to better prepare visitors on what to expect.

MSP Airport has a similar guide to ease the anxiety associated with travel.

Instead of exhibits, an online planner helps flyers with autism know what to expect from the packing process to de-boarding.

There are also days when families can have a practice run through at the airport, including boarding a plane and meeting a pilot.

The next practice date is April 13 and you can register on the airport's website.   

Not only does the Como Zoo have sensory-friendly dates for guests with autism, the zoo also offers guides so families can prepare for their visit.

A visual schedule allows you to cut out pictures of the different exhibits and tape them to a board. 

The next "autism friendly early entry" date is on the 14th.

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