Following the success of our Sensory-Friendly Halloween Party in October, we have decided to host another free community event for families of children with autism in the Blackstone Valley area.
We will be hosting our first Sensory-Friendly Spring Fling on Thursday, April 19th from 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm at our Community Day Program and 670 Douglas Street in Uxbridge. Join us for fun spring-themed sensory activities, gardening projects, adaptive yoga designed especially for kids, musical entertainment featuring drum circles, and more!
Entertainment and drum circles will be provided by Mike Leo Drum Circles and Rhythm-Based Entertainment. Mike is a great performer with many years of experience working with individuals with disabilities. He gets everyone involved in making music however they feel comfortable! He has tons of different percussion instruments available for kids to experiment with.
Adaptive yoga sessions will be held at 4:30, 5:00, and 5:30 with Lisa Irvine, an occupational therapist and certified yoga instructor. Lisa is also certified through our partnership with Shri Yoga, which provides training to lead evidence-based adaptive classes for many different populations, including children, individuals with developmental disabilities, and individuals with autism and other sensory disorders.
Other activities will be facilitated by Venture’s own experienced clinicians and trained staff members, such as sensory exploration, gardening projects, crafts, and make-your-own snacks. Kids will also have access to our two state-of-the-art sensory rooms for quiet space if needed.
We hope you’ll be able to join us! Click here for more information about our Sensory-Friendly Spring Fling. Please RSVP to Paige Mador at 774-922-1135 or firstname.lastname@example.org with the number of children and adults attending.
For many children, Halloween is an exciting time of year. Choosing a costume, trick or treating, parties with friends, celebrations at school, and other autumn activities can be a lot of fun. But for children with autism or other sensory processing concerns, it can be stressful. Here are some helpful tips to make Halloween fun for everyone:
- Prepare your child by talking with them about what to expect when trick-or-treating. Show them a movie or read them a book where other children are trick-or-treating. You might even try using different rooms in your house to practice knocking on the door and saying “trick or treat”. You could also do a practice run at the home of a family member or friend.
- Lots of children with sensory concerns are very sensitive to different clothing items. Halloween costumes can be itchy, tight, awkward, or otherwise just plain uncomfortable! Have your child try on their costume and spend a couple hours wearing it around the house so they can get used to it. This will allow you time to make adjustments if necessary, like cutting off tags or layering over a more comfortable shirt. Click here for more about sensory-friendly costumes and be sure to check out Pinterest for lots of great ideas.
- Help your child identify which candies they like, and let them know about some types that can turn your mouth a different color, get stuck in your teeth, or be very sour.
- Pumpkin carving is a great Halloween tradition. For many kids, the sensory experience of playing with “pumpkin guts” can be really fun! However, others might not enjoy that sensation. There are other ways to incorporate jack-o-lanterns besides carving – kids can decorate pumpkins with paint or stickers instead. Click here for some great ideas that don’t include carving.
- If your child is going trick-or-treating and has trouble communicating, you can make a card that says something like, “Hello, my name is ______ and I have autism. I might have trouble saying ‘trick or treat’ or ‘Happy Halloween’ but I am trying my best. Thank you!” Your child could hand it to the person answering the door or you could attach it to their treat bucket. Click here for a printable card or create a customized one.
- Don’t feel pressured to participate in trick-or-treating (or any other activities for that matter) if they don’t work for your child. It’s not for everyone, and that’s okay. You might have just as much fun staying in for movie night!
Venture will also be hosting its first Sensory-Friendly Not-So-Spooky Halloween Event on Thursday, October 26th from 4 – 6 pm at our Community Day Services Program, 670 Douglas Street, Uxbridge, Mass. The event is free and focused for children 12 and under with autism and other sensory concerns. Event volunteers will include clinicians and direct care staff with experience working with people with special needs. Activities will include practice trick or treating, scavenger hunt for prizes, activities, games, crafts, snacks, and access to our sensory room for a quiet space if needed. Please RSVP with number of people attending to email@example.com.
This summer, there are many sensory-friendly summer activities for individuals with autism and sensory processing disorders available throughout the community. Thankfully, many organizations and community groups have developed a greater awareness about the needs of this population, providing families of children with disabilities the same opportunities as everyone else. We applaud the efforts of local vendors and organizations that are working to meet the needs of everyone, regardless of disability.
Here is a list of events and activities throughout Massachusetts that are sensory-friendly fun for the whole family:
Sensory Sensitive Saturday in Boston on July 22 – tours and programs at the Edward M. Kennedy Institute
Sensory-Friendly Movie on July 29 – showing of “The Emoji” in Haverhill
Family Autism Event on August 5 – The Children’s Museum in Easton
“A Little Princess” Sensory Friendly Performance on July 22 – community theater program in Brockton
Especially for Me: Autism-Friendly Evening on August 19 – Children’s Discovery Museum in Acton
Sensory Sensitive Sundays – Chuck E. Cheese’s in Worcester and other Massachusetts locations
Sensory Friendly Saturdays – Altitude Trampoline Park in Billerica