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Sensory-friendly ideas for fun times with your family

🕑 2 minutes read
Posted October 6, 2017

Having sensory issues and going into public places can be a challenge. Here are some great sensory-friendly ideas and interesting ways people are overcoming the obstacles.

Movie times for everyone!

Finally, children and adults with sensory processing difficulties can enjoy movies!

After all, moviegoing is both fun and an educational experience we all love and bond over. AMC Theatres and the Autism Society teamed up to offer the “Sensory Friendly Films” program as a special opportunity for individuals living with autism and other sensory difficulties to enjoy films in a safe and accepting environment on a monthly basis. During Sensory Friendly Films, the movie auditoriums keep their lights turned slightly up (dim lights remain on) and the sound turned slightly down. Plus, audience members are welcome to get up and dance, walk, or sing. Families are also permitted to bring their own snacks from home.

Check current film showings and times


Sensory-friendly concerts and performances

We take a lot of enjoyable experiences for granted; but what if the music is too loud for you, the lights are flashing, and you’re expected to sit perfectly still for hours?

While there have been accommodations for wheelchairs for decades, live music performances are still inaccessible to people with other — “invisible” — disabilities. This is beginning to change.

From New Jersey to Seattle and from San Diego to Pittsburg, orchestras across the country host sensory-friendly performances, including some prime venues in the country. Broadway theater also has special sensory-friendly performances.

You can expect a more brightly-lit environment, quieter music, and an understanding from the performers and other audience members. People are encouraged to move and enjoy themselves.


Got a sports fan?

A lot of of Major League Baseball teams have sensory-friendly games throughout the season. In an attempt to make games as enjoyable as possible, along with other fan-friendly accommodations, the stadiums usually lower the volume of the in-game programming, plan special pre-game activities, and make quiet rooms available for those in need of quiet space.


Every kid deserves a birthday celebration

A birthday is a special occasion for every kid. How can you make it especially memorable for kids with sensory difficulties?

Chuck E. Cheese’s, in partnership with the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), offers a “Sensory Sensitive Sundays” program in a lot of locations across the country, including the plan to eventually expand this program to all US locations. The Sensory Sensitive Sundays experience includes minimal music and noise, dimmed lighting, and of course, food, games and appearances by Chuck E.

Sky Zone, the indoor trampoline park franchise with more than 100 locations across the country, offers sensory-friendly jump sessions with the music nearly or fully turned off.


Hear from iLs Clinical Director, Ron Minson, MD at the the 2015 Brain IDEAS Symposium, hosted by the Invisible Disabilities Association.

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