While the upcoming holiday season brings excitement and anticipation to many, families with children on the autism spectrum understand the challenges that may occur with celebrating festivities. As you plan your calendar for the next few months, consider some of the events below, which are geared towards children with sensory sensitivities and offer modified levels of light, noise, and number of visitors.
- Sensory-Friendly Santa welcomes people of all ages and abilities. Autism Speaks is collaborating with Cherry Hill Programs this holiday season to provide sensory-friendly Santa Experiences now in more destinations. Space is limited, so be sure to RSVP.
- Springfree Trampoline in Issaquah is also hosting Sensory Sensitive Santa. It is a free family event where families can enjoy a relaxing and calm environment to have complimentary photos taken with Santa. Call (425) 654-1306 for more information.
- Centerstage Theater in Federal Way is presenting a Sensory Friendly Matinee of Robin Hood – a brand new holiday pantomime. Click here to purchase tickets.
- Seattle Theatre Group, Disney Theatrical Group, TDF and community partners offer sensory-friendly performances with modifications such as lower sound, designated quiet and activity areas within the theatre, guidance and sensory supports (fidgets, earplugs, noise-cancelling ear muffs), and specialized therapists assigned to support families. Upcoming performances include A Charlie Brown Christmas, Frozen and 22nd Annual DANCE.
In addition to holiday sensory friendly events, there are several other options available year-round:
- Seattle Children’s Theater offers a series of Sensory Friendly Performances with special modifications for each performance. For a list of upcoming performances and to purchase tickets, click here.
- In partnership with the Autism Society, AMC has a Sensory Friendly Films program, showing family-friendly movies the second and fourth Saturdays of the month. Click here to see showings and purchase tickets.
- Pacific Science Center offers Exploration for All on one Saturday each month. Admission is free for families with a member who has ASD. The center has specially trained staff along with maps of exhibit spaces rated for noise level, visual stimulation, and strong odors.
- KidsQuest Children’s Museum in Bellevue offers Low Sensory Evenings so children can explore freely without distractions. KidsQuest turns down the noise and lights, limits attendance and offers low-sensory bags for checkout during any visit. These bags include headphones, fidget toys, sunglasses, and “Low Sensory Storybooks” that introduce the child to the museum.