“I’m so sorry. So sorry. Excuse me. Honestly, I apologize.”
Did Declan just push a child over in his excitement to go down the slide? Did he butt in line? Is he screaming in a movie theater?
Not this time! This time it was another little guy who ran into me on his way to get to the trampolines.
“No problem!” I called to the woman who apologized as she ran to keep up with her son.
We were at our local trampoline park for one of my favorite things.
Special Needs Family Outings!
I love special needs family outings.
- to see organizations think about the special needs population and to create an environment that allows for inclusion.
- that as a caregiver, I am with other caregiver’s, providing understanding and support to one another.
- to see the smiles on the faces of the people who are there to engage in an activity that they may not be able to enjoy otherwise.
The sound is turned down, there are low sensory areas, characters at parks do not approach people, yet wait to be approached. Really fantastic awareness of different needs!
Here are some new outings and some of our favorites to look out for!
Urban Air Trampoline Park
If your house is anything like this house, you have a small trampoline somewhere to help a sensory seeker have a nice rhythmic bounce to meet sensory needs. So, how cool is it that Urban Air Trampoline Park has special needs evenings? In our town, the evenings are the first and third Tuesday of every month. Lots of jumping, supportive environment and free pizza = one fun night for the whole family!
Another fun special needs family outing for us is our local bounce house, Bounce U. The first Wednesday evening of every month is dedicated for the individuals with special needs. Bounce U has put this info on their website for the sensory friendly event:
Sensory Bounce is a program for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), sensory processing disorder (SPD), and other disabilities with a sensory component, and their families. Bouncing is a fun, play-based activity in a sensory-rich environment. At Sensory Bounce, children can get a fun-filled workout, bounce, and socialize with other families in a supportive environment. We turn the music off for this event.
Special Needs Night at the Ball Park
Special Needs Families are treated to a special night at the Philadelphia Phillies. Declan and I went and it was great. We sat with other special needs families. Declan must’ve changed rows and seats 4 times in one inning. No one complained; everyone helped. When Declan started making sounds just to make sounds, no one stared. We were in a safe place. It was wonderful.
AMC SENSORY FRIENDLY FILMS
Do you have an AMC near you? We do, and take Declan to AMC Sensory Friendly Films. The lights are turned up, the volume is turned down. Declan moves around a lot. And it is all A-OK. Lots of people in the room were talking, moving – no big deal. There is so much support and understanding. They are perfect!
The Variety Club
We are members of our local Variety Club. The Variety Club is fantastic. It provides information, resources and coordinates events for Special Needs Family’s to attend. We have gone to many events with the Variety Club, including Sesame Place, Adventure Aquarium and The Please Touch Museum for a couple of years now. These events are geared towards the special needs population and allow special needs families different outing opportunities.
MLB Autism Awareness Nights
The MLB has made a special night for each MLB team during Autism Awareness month. Declan got to go to his first MLB game this year. He loved it! Did he know there was a game going on? I don’t know. But he got to experience the ball park. The sound, the smells, the food, the atmosphere. And he loved it! We only made it through about 2 innings in our section, but it was worth it to have the opportunity!
Taking Declan out can be very stressful. Sometimes the surroundings are too loud, too crowded, to bright. Sometimes we don’t have understanding surrounding our family. We may have thought we planned and prepared for everything, just to have the unexpected happen. You hope that you have the support of caring people like Kelvin Moon Loh who wrote this after a boy with autism interrupted a performance on Broadway.
So it is always nice to be on the lookout for Special Needs Family Outings available in your area. I hope this helps – I know we are always looking!