Looking for sensory activities for autism? Wondering what they are? Sensory activities pay extra attention to the senses. That is because of the overlap between sensory and autism. In addition, know that for children with autism, sensory activities are often called sensory-friendly. The friendly part makes them easier for autistic children to attend and enjoy with their families.
Moreover, parents search for sensory-friendly activities for their child with autism.
Sensory-friendly describes a sensory activity at a place or an event. In particular, the sensory experience is changed on purpose. For example, noise levels are less. Additionally, bright lights are less. Finally, the environment is simply more comfortable for people with sensory issues or sensory sensitivity.
Some examples of sensory activities for autism include sensory-friendly movies, relaxed performances, and autism hour for shopping.
We’ve written an article with lots of information about sensory-friendly movies. Accordingly, those are special movie events where the house lights are on, and the soundtrack volume is down. Usually, other accessible changes occur too.
Relaxed performances in theatres are a great example of a sensory activity for autism. For example, during a sensory-relaxed theatre performance, house lights are left on, like at sensory-friendly movies. In addition, spotlights are not used. Actors prepare for a noisier audience. Or maybe for children to move around more. For more ideas on what gets included in a relaxed performance or how to offer one, read our relaxed performance article.
InterAction Theatre in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada gave the first sensory-friendly performance in the city in November 2018. And have carried on the tradition ever since.
You have likely heard about Sensitive Santa events at a mall. Unlike regular visiting times, only a small number of parents and children meet Santa. Furthermore, these times are often by appointment. The child has plenty of time to become comfortable.
Some malls offer a Sensory-Friendly Easter Bunny too!
Finally, many sports arenas and tourist attractions provide a sensory backpack or sensory kit to visitors. A sensory backpack or sensory kit has things like headphones and small fidget toys. These help an autistic child. The headphones reduce noises and sound. Fidget toys help a child calm and focus.
Some more examples of sensory-friendly activities are:
Christel Seeberger worked as an occupational therapist for more than 25 years helping people with sensory sensitivity who experience sensory overload. Christel has sensory sensitivity herself; she has hearing loss and wears hearing aids. She founded Sensory Friendly Solutions in 2016. Sensory Friendly Solutions brings together people around the world looking for sensory friendly living and businesses and organizations who offer sensory friendly experiences.