Of all the things that I never knew about before dealing with having a child with Autism, it is often the sheer number of activities that are out there that stun me the most.
I mentioned the trip to Sesame Place a few days ago – that was through Variety Philadelphia – but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg when push comes to shove. I’m sure there are similar resources around the country, but here’s a smattering of what I’m talking about:
- Sensory friendly films at AMC Theaters – Once a month, there’s a sensory-friendly showing of a children’s film at AMC theaters on a Saturday morning. (Not always convenient since I often have gabbai duty at my shul…) They have a good selection of films, and do it with the lights up, the sound lowered, and with a crowd that’s going to understand meltdowns from some of the audience. We’ve yet to get to one – again, that pesky shul thing – but it looks like a great idea. (Nationwide – link has list of participating theaters.)
- Family activities at the Autism Society of Baltimore – We belong to this group, and likewise, they do a monthly outing. Many of these seem to be chosen to both be fun for the family AND help children get accustomed to the environment at large, for instance the bowling trip. While we didn’t get to this month’s trip because of our schedule, we’re waiting to hear back for next month – families have to sign up, oftentimes, to ensure there’s space. (Baltimore Metro Area)
- Pathfinders for Autism – Another local group, Pathfinders does outreach and fundraising in the community, though they also direct folks to other sensory-friendly activities. Some of their activities are a bit late in the day for the Monster, but they do have a nice variety, and it’s more than once-a-month. (Baltimore Metro Area)
- TDF/TAP Autism Theater Initiative – Yes, if you have a child on the spectrum, you can go take in a Broadway show, if you schedule it carefully! The performances are not anywhere near as frequent as one might like, but they make an effort to make mainstream shows sensory-friendly for a performance now and again. TDF goes so far as to even make a social story available on their site for the show! (New York City)
It goes further than this, but these are some of the resources I have bookmarked locally – I know there are other theater companies around the country, for instance, who put on sensory-friendly showings, and other groups like our local ASA-BCC branch. It’s just a matter of looking.